Impressions: Starbound

By Craig Pearson on December 9th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Shhhh.
Starbound is a procedurally-generated universe, where you have a ship, a star-map, and an infinite number of planets to visit and plunder. It is a game that makes almost no definition between single and multiplayer, allowing you to bring your character across the void and back again, visiting the same places online and offline, and sharing those worlds with friends. Its first beta just welcomed weary travelers, and though it is missing a framework that would make it an easier game to follow, the foundation is strong. I’ve spent the weekend exploring the stars.

My friend Owen lives in Stockholm, so we play lots and lots of games together online. He is a lovely man and everyone should have an Owen in their life. We unlocked Starbound on Steam at the same time, before roping in another of Owen’s friends, Eld, and going on an adventure. That’s us asleep up there. I love that screenshot.

It says a lot about a game that it’ll enable three grown men to have a restorative slumber in a basement carved out of an alien world. We landed there after we’d all gathering on Owen’s ship. Each player has their own craft, and if you’re in a party together you can pay visits to each person’s space-abode. The ship can fulfil a multitude of tasks – it can be a backpack, carrying your collected items (weapons, tools, decorative items) from planet-to-planet and it can be a showcase of your adventures, a decorated missile of loot. It can also serve as a meeting point, a place for players to transport themselves and then beam down onto the planet the ship is currently orbiting to meet up with chums.

That’s what we did. Owen had parked over a forest planet, though it had giant plants where trees (and more importantly wood) should be. There are no classes in Starbound but there are races, and so it was that a robot with an exposed brain, a totally hot redhead human (that’s me!), and a guy with purple hair all moved in together. Eld immediately began creating a house from wood that he’d already scavenged from another planet, drawing out lines on the land that would become walls and floors, then adding a backdrop of planks. Suddenly, we had a home.

Owen and I were still trying to peel back the game’s foil: you begin with a matter manipulation device, which is basically a tool for placing items in and removing them from the world. A few quests, picked up by clicking an exclamation mark on the right of the screen, taught us the basics: how to make a crafting table so we could eventually create tools and more (much much more), and how to hunt and gather meat. Events escalate quickly. The first step asks players to collect an item from a locker and the sixth has them calling down an alien invasion of level 10 creatures that will ultimately unlock the rest of the map. It’s a bit messy, the opening, and for a game as large as this, with so many potential experiences for the player, it risks leaving people a bit lost. It’s the “what does this button do, what does that mean, why are there levelled creatures when I can’t level myself?” kind of lost, in addition to the “what sort of things are down this hole?” lost.

As Eld crafted a home, Owen and I excavated. We hunted beneath the house for interesting things, including ores, creatures, pixel pods (little capsules containing the game’s currency). We didn’t last long underground. Your character starts with a flashlight, and although we took turns to keep the way lit for one another, it was clear that we needed torches we could place to keep the route lit. Crafting torches requires wood and the planet, apparently, did not have any. However, we returned to the surface to discover a lovely house, with beds and even a fire, roaring away against the night to keep the cold away. Yeah, when it gets dark you need to stay warm or you’ll eventually freeze to death. That Eld’s a keeper.

We picked a direction and started to walk. There are creatures in Starbound’s world, and they are either hostile or friendly, and there are both animals and NPCs. The animals are basically fodder – aggressive mobs will attack on sight, while friendlies will simply totter about. The area of aggro is pretty low, so you won’t always know whether a creature is friendly before you’re in striking distance, and it’s possible to whack the friendly mobs, accidentally or otherwise, turning them against you. Ground forces tend to run and jump, and I struck lucky fairly early on when I found a Legendary weapon that spits out explosive bones and has a speedy swing – most ground attacks are easily resolved with it.

More interesting attacks come from above. There are birds that drop bombs, spit out electrical charges and attempt to freeze you, though they’re pretty easy to avoid. You can even knock enemies out using walls. I’ve yet to have a really satisfying fight in Starbound though. Combat feels functional and pretty robotic, only serving to slow the player down in dungeons and give them something to do while exploring above ground. Even with a mixture of diverse weapons, it’s the sort of combat you try to find a quick escape from and continue to do so.

But fighting was never the point for me. I just wanted to see things. This planet, a place of toxic ponds and giant plants, was interesting enough, but I died and returned to our little house, leaving Owen to continue on. Eld noticed that we needed more wood to make anything of the game we were in and suggested we move on. I agreed, but Owen interrupted, Welshly: “You’re not going to believe what I found guys: a sci-fi underground prison!”

And he wasn’t just being Owen–who operates with a level of childlike wonder that would shame Spielberg–he had found a dungeon, and he’d found it in the most Owen way possible, by falling in a hole and spotted it under the ground. We started to dig. At this stage we’d found a tree (it turns out that a single planet can have different kinds of forests) and crafted some picks to help with the digging – the matter manipulator is slow going, and discovering that there are upgradeable tools to help you hoe, dig, and chop really sped our prison break-in along.

The dungeon was a vast facility, dedicated to some sort of techno-ape society. We started wandering through the eerie and empty world before we made a discovery – we could take anything we liked. The world is full of objects that you can pick up, mostly for decorative purposes. Like the kids from The Goonies, we grabbed everything: we pulled tiles from walls, we yanked lights and TV screens, posters and beds. Things you might do little more than glance at, insignificant little details, are placed for you to loot should you so wish. To help you understand how much you can pick up, I’ve circled everything (from a different world, in an ape city I found) in this screenshot that’s yours to collect. Clicky.

That is both a joke and the truth. We could even grab the parts that made up the electrified walls. The entire building is a jumping puzzle made of loot, and by the time we reached the end to find a small chest with a blueprint in it, we had so much stuff that we could have built a mini-techno dungeon of our own. Elsewhere, in worlds away from this place, I have found gongs, plasma discs, prison entrance signs, brains in jars, an anchor, statues, bookcases. I’ve found these things in all manner of places, from a medieval robot village to a prison that’s been taken over by the prisoners.

Just knowing there’s that stuff out there has been a hell of a draw for me. When Owen and others aren’t online (and there’s no easy way to check in-game, stupidly) I’ll just go off on my own. I had to stop at one world because I’d used up all of my ship’s fuel (wood or coal), and I found a dungeon guarded by a wheelchair-bound ape with a raygun. The reward for completing that dungeon was a double-jump ability. Sometimes, you’ll only find blocks, pixels and ore, but if you’re digging with friends, working together to adventure deeper and deeper till the warm glow of lava tells you you’ve hit bottom, even that’s good enough.

And if you’re on your own, you get to see things like this.

Which is just lovely. Here, have another screenshot just because I like it.

And there are the little details that can’t be screenshotted, like the music dipping when you enter water, the way fish chase spilled pixels in the water, or the fact that rain makes your character colder. It’s comforting to be part of a world where everything feels like it has attention (or is going to be attended to, according to some of the missing item texts). Starbound’s pretty enough and witty enough that the technical hitches don’t really bother me. And what’s there is already in flux – levelling is going to be explained and simplified greatly in a coming patch, and there’s no story yet. That’ll be coming in an update. I’d hope they’ll also focus on a better friends system, because that’s what I think it needs. The current server solution is good, and Owen easily hosted our game on his home machine, but it needs a more robust method of creation, bookmarking, and helping in-game friends to connect. If Chucklefish do that, Starbound will keep me coming back for months.

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101 Comments »

  1. eQuality_Ninja says:

    This game is really great fun – but I was surprised that my 4 year old laptop struggled to play it. Perhaps its a beta optimisation thing, but I switched to my monster PC and had a blast. An exciting game that I’m keen to get back to once work craziness dies down a bit.

    • Awesumo says:

      Yeah, it definately has some optimisation issues. Even on my main computer I can hear all the fans whirring up to full when this thing is loaded. It happens on the main menu (before you load a character) so it isn’t the game itself sucking up huge resources.

      • dE says:

        I concur. It sent my quite beefy PC in a calculation frenzy and frames dipped quite a bit in some of the areas. But Beta is a Beta and in this case it actually really is a Beta and not a paid demo. So from seeing the Dev interact and respond to criticism really well and them already changing major parts of the game due to feedback, I’m confident they’ll fix the FPS in time as well.

      • Bull0 says:

        I didn’t have any trouble, and I was running a multiplayer server to play on. Admittedly with only one other person connected.

    • Low Life says:

      How much RAM does your laptop have? The game seems to take over a gig just when playing alone.

      • eQuality_Ninja says:

        I’ve got 4 GB, so was a little surprised that it struggled so much!

    • Terragot says:

      Try running the root .exe as administrator, that gave me pretty consistent FPS from what was barely playable.

      • eQuality_Ninja says:

        Will give this a go when I next get the chance. To be fair, it might be optimised by that time, but handy trick to have in mind.

    • DrBomb says:

      Yes, the devs have stated that the game will need a bit more power in the beginning but they plan to get starbound to play on somewhat low end computers, this is a very early beta after all :)

  2. FunnyB says:

    So, how much is this like Terrarria?
    The thing that made me bounce off that one, was that to progress you had to gather a certain ore, and to get that ore, you needed a certain pick, and to make that pick, you needed a certain ore, and to make that appear, you had to defeat a ludicrous boss with the crappy weapons you have at the (almost) beginning.

    It was IMHO, extremely hard to progress in that game.

    Is Starbound similar, or better in that regard? Because the text makes it sound a bit easier….

    • Premium User Badge Keymonk says:

      Pretty much the same – you need to get progressively different ore, and you need to kill bosses to get access to new areas to get more different ore. So you probably won’t have a better time.

    • Loque says:

      > Is Starbound similar, or better in that regard? Because the text makes it sound a bit easier….

      Right now, in the beta, it’s almost a Terraria clone. Same mechanics, same graphics (visually speaking), same monsters AI. You start with nothing then proceede to chop trees and hand-mine ore. Then you build a pickaxe and upgrade it. Then you build weapons/armors and upgrade them.

      I would say this: SKIP the game at least until beta phase 2 (quests and more stuff). If you play it now, don’t expect a better game than Terraria.

      • Stardreamer says:

        Bought this for a friend’s birthday but thanks to comments hereabout I’ll be waiting for a more complete version.

    • laiwm says:

      I’ve played zero Terraria and only a bit of this but it’s fairly freeform – you don’t *need* any tools beyond your starting equipment, and once you’ve made an anvil you can craft any kind of ore you find into a bunch of different stuff. I don’t like the Minecraft progression much, but this is a lot less limiting. Only played a bit but it’s been great so far.

    • Awesumo says:

      It is almost identical in that regard. The first boss (without spoilers), well as well as its own abilities it regularly spawns level 10 enemies. Up to that point the most you’ve faced is lvl 4 enemies, so even those little rubbish adds that the boss spawns are indestructable wrecking balls, let alone the boss itself. Takes a huge amount of, well, luck to beat it, as you need to find a chest that randomly drops a very high level weapon to have a chance against it.
      .
      They’ve said they are going to nerf it a little though.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        The UFO boss is actually intended for a much later tier. He only shows up where he is currently as a placeholder.

        • engion3 says:

          Ha, I spent a few days building a super nice house and decorating it then build the distress beacon not knowing what to expect and as I hid in my house thinking about how I was going to destroy this thing it blew a whole in my roof and dynamite strapped penguins exploded everything. Intense.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            The phrase “dynamite strapped penguins” does not appear nearly as much as it should in common parlance, I think.

          • Dephen says:

            That damn ufo… I thought I’d “encourage” some assistance from a Glitch town I found. So I plonked the beacon down right in the middle.

            Now the images of burned out homesteads, the jutting shards of watchtowers and that poor chicken farmer will be etched into my glazed-over, dead robot eyes forever.

            I’m off to find an Avian air ship, those pirates are more tooled up than a GTA protagonist.

      • KDR_11k says:

        You can craft a level 13 armor from leather using the string spinning wheel, wearing that makes the boss and his minions do like 6 damage per hit, low enough that the occasional bandage will see you through. With just the craftable equipment it takes forever to kill though, the iron hunting bow hits it for 15 damage and it seems to have a few thousand HP.

      • KDR_11k says:

        While the tutorial makes it sound different I think you can travel to other planets before beating that boss, the alpha sector that you can access goes up to threat level 10.

    • FunnyB says:

      Right. Thanks for the answers everyone!

      I think I’ll sit this one out for now! ;)

    • Lemming says:

      Context:

      I got bored/annoyed at Terraria after less than an hour.

      I got really into survival Minecraft for a few days.

      I haven’t really gone back to Cubeworld after the first half an hour just looking around.

      Conclusion:

      I really like Starbound. I think saying it’s just like Terraria is a bit lazy, unless Terraria is vastly different from the last time I tried it.

    • Viroso says:

      It is similar and better. So far at least, it’s hard to tell how progression’s gonna go. So far I haven’t found a single unbreakable ore and I haven’t had a problem upgrading my pickaxes. But yeah, it’s the same idea, find better ore to make better stuff to face harder things.

      The biggest difference I notice is that everything’s just mush smoother. You’ll quickly upgrade your pickaxe and once you do digging in any planet becomes really fast. You won’t go to a planet that suddenly turns your faster pickaxe into a slow pickaxe.

      But aside from being a smoother Terraria it has other things that make it a lot of fun, like the ones mentioned in the article. It’s basically Terraria built on a system that keeps it from getting repetitive.

      • KDR_11k says:

        My starting planet was made of some pretty tough rocks in the lower layers, took like ten seconds even with a gold pick to break those. Now I’ve been flying to desert planets and wow, that pick cuts them up like they’re candy floss.

    • dE says:

      Currently, it’s not gated by ore mining. Technically, the matter manipulator can mine anything it comes across (to my knowledge). Better pickaxes simply improve the speed with which you do that (and by god, you do want to. The matter manipulator is sloooooooow). So right from the get-go, you can theoretically mine the best ore. The game is however gated by the danger level of a planet. Enemies will have a higher level and if your equipment isn’t up to it, you’re out of luck. But in theory (and in some cases, people did this) you can grab a bit of fuel for your ship, fly to a highly dangerous planet and ninja mine materials far ahead of the curve and grab weapons that are powerful enough to last you several planets. Sure, enemies will one hit you on sight, but you could use blocks to circumvent that.
      That said, the progression is currently work in progress and the coming patch is already changing major parts of it. So what’s true now might not be true tomorrow.

  3. Premium User Badge Skeletor68 says:

    Agree with Craig about the combat. No real weight to it. I’m hoping it’s something they can solve as the game seems great otherwise.

    • Chalky says:

      There’s a big patch coming later today that will overhaul how combat mechanics such as armour penetration work which might improve on this somewhat:

      http://playstarbound.com/coming-in-a-few-days-sorry-for-the-delay/

      • KDR_11k says:

        Armor penetration sounds like the system that was added to A Valley Without Wind 1 in the later stages of development (after no form of using regular numbers worked). IIRC the final version used levels 1-5 on a per continent basis instead of the endless level curve that was in place during the early alpha.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Yeah, me too. I dont care about combat that much, but its an issue. It feels slow, very very repetitive. If there are going to be some sort of bosses it needs addressing. Maybe some rpg elements? Like status effects? I dont know.

      • Reapy says:

        Right, the combat could use more punch. This is also what turned me off terraria after a point. It is not really the need to smooth out damage progression, but the need for a bit more mechanics variations beyond knock back and run away. Game is still fun with huge potential as it gets worked on though.

      • Syphus says:

        Not sure what kind of status effects you are looking for, but you can poison enemies currently with certain weapons. I suspect that at some point some of these toxic foods you can pick up can also become some kind of poisons.

    • Mctittles says:

      Devs should really take a look at King Arthur’s Gold for an example of how to do animations and combat with tiny guys.

      These other games look so half finished and unsatisfying with their animations and movement mechanics.

  4. guus says:

    I kind of like the lack of guidance though, the game only teaches you the bare minimum, but it is a toolset for discovering the rest of the game. This game is built around discovering and exploring, so why add a more extensive tutorial?

    • Loque says:

      That’s because the game was released as “progenitor beta”, which is a kind alternative to “alpha”, in my opinion. A lot, but really a LOT of stuff is missing.

  5. Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

    I played it a couple of hours and had great fun with it (I loved Terraria, and it feels like a developed, enhanced version of that to me), though digging and gathering wood was pretty annoying (because it took so long) before I discovered that it is possible to craft specialised tools for that.

    I’ve stopped playing for the moment, because I don’t think I’ll make much progress before the next update wipes my character.

  6. Stragman says:

    Is the game DRM Free?

    • Syphus says:

      Depends, do you call Steam DRM?

      • Grey Poupon says:

        If the game runs without Steam being in the background then it doesn’t use Steam as a DRM system. You can only distribute your game on steam without using its DRM. Though it’s quite rare, the only game that comes to mind that does that is ArmA 2.

        • Premium User Badge FriendlyFire says:

          Starbound does that too, so there. It’s DRM free and only uses Steam to roll out the patches.

          I also heard that they want to have an updater by the time full release comes around, so you wouldn’t need Steam at all.

          • Hahaha says:

            They are releasing a completely steam free exe, so yes at the least its a way to control your buying habits.

        • Saiko Kila says:

          There are other indie games which do not need Steam. One example is Gnomoria (which is kind of isometric Dwarf Fortress Lite). Interestingly, original Terraria is NOT such game. You need an additional loader to run it without Steam.

      • Stragman says:

        Yes, I call Steam DRM…

        • Premium User Badge nasKo says:

          Which – in this case – it isn’t because it is not necessary to play the game. You can go into the installation folder and play it without Steam running.

        • Lemming says:

          Oh, you’re one of them

  7. Dominic White says:

    Keep in mind that this is an EARLY beta, and huge swathes of content and features are currently either being overhauled, or haven’t been added yet. The game has no oceans, Hyotl settlements/architecture, only a couple of story missions, no sidequests (although some are hinted at in character diaries), the entire combat engine is getting an overhaul next update, etc.

    Also upcoming: Baby and Elder creatures, pets and more. And another playable race. I’d not be surprised if the game was still heavily in development in six months time.

    It’s still really impressive as-is. Here’s one kinda amazing feature that not many have noticed: Click the magnifying glass icon in the top right, then almost any item in the game world. Your character will examine it, adventure game style.

    All six races have unique thoughts on almost every single object. Florans are great, because they only think in terms of how stuff might be used in stabbing, maiming or otherwise killing their prey.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      Craig should’ve mentioned something to this effect – at the moment it’s still very much in-progress and there’s lots more to come.

    • buzzmong says:

      “Early beta” and “features to be added” don’t belong in the same sentence unless there’s a “not in” or “no more” added in.

      Beta means feature complete. If there’s still features to be added before v1.0, it’s still an alpha.

      • Mabswer says:

        Well yea normaly that is a case, But i’d still say that it’s a BEta as long as there is everything in a Basic level, which can be Extended and expanded upon before and after release. Which is the way Starbound is aming To be… sort of.

        -Alpha however is Not complete in even a basic level lackin in gameplay and or some other way.

      • saluk says:

        Maybe 10 years ago. Language changes over time – deal with it. With games beta does not mean feature complete, which wouldn’t make any sense anyway, because the 3 or 4 patches that come after a game is “finished” usually add features as well.

        I think a reasonable game explanation of beta is that the game works/feels relatively similar to how it is meant to at launch, and has a reasonable amount of content. Versus an alpha where core things like movement may not even be close to finalized.

  8. Bull0 says:

    Played around eight hours yesterday, just couldn’t stop. Lovely. For early access, it’s very well-polished and there’s a ton of content. I’m looking forward to playing again.

  9. Niko says:

    Too bad it crashes every time I click on “join game” button.

    • Low Life says:

      Have you written the address of the server you want to join in the field on that screen? :)

      It may sound simple, but I’ve seen people clicking that button and crashing the game several times before realizing that.

      • Niko says:

        Aw, mate, thanks a bunch. Still, it’s a very alpha way to tell you that you have to enter IP address.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      my client will usually crash if I try to connect to a server that is down or having connectivity problems. Make sure you have the right address and the server is properly configured.

    • Ushao says:

      I had crash issues on my machine until I turned off UPNP in the config files.

  10. Viroso says:

    This game has been great so far, to anyone interested though, very important to read this

    http://playstarbound.com/how-the-beta-is-going-to-work/

    It is incomplete, because it is still in beta. Changes, big changes, keep happening. Some of these changes may wipe from existence your planet based home or even your save. In fact there’s a big update coming that will make some big changes to the game and may wipe saves out completely.

    http://playstarbound.com/other-bits-and-pieces-coming-with-the-balance-update/

    • rei says:

      Actually, by standard definitions it’s still in alpha, and they probably should’ve called it that in order to avoid false expectations. Beta is supposed to be more or less feature-complete, which isn’t the case here.

      • theoriginaled says:

        Theyve gotten a huge amount of backlash from their community already for the dreaded A word so I imagine calling it Beta phase 1 is more a PR thing than anything else.

      • SeismicRend says:

        It is useless to define beta as ‘feature complete’ for software the developers intend to perpetually update and expand. Software today is generally sold more as a service than a completed piece of code as developers are expected to support it and expand its features if its release is successful.

  11. GamesInquirer says:

    The game is pretty cool in the we-just-started-playing stage described in this article but it’s not long before you’ve seen most everything it has to offer as the planets, dungeons and towns start to repeat and all that’s left to differentiate things is higher damage numbers and different color materials.

    Also, melee weapons despite being more fun to use in normal circumstances seem to be really bad compared to advanced ranged weaponry you find as they pose much greatest risk of taking damage (for obvious reasons) but don’t make up for it with dealing more damage of their own. I suppose we may have gotten lucky to find the vendor selling the guns (and have yet to find or craft anywhere near as good melee weapons) there definitely seem to be many balance and pacing issues of this sort.

    Hopefully later versions will have more long lasting appeal. They should also give people a reason to build things, currently all the tools you may want fit in your spaceship and the only reason to build is if you’re feeling creative when there’s a ton of potential into making useful bases of operations or towns.

    • Reapy says:

      Right, that is another huge mountain any procedural content has to overcome. Tree graphics are awesome, but once you take an axe to it, they all act the same. I hope they realize this and add functions to decorative items and different properties to variations. If they start doing this over time, the game will be golden for a long while.

      • GamesInquirer says:

        I don’t think it’s even fully procedural really, the layouts of many if not all the types of dungeons seem to be identical every time they’re encountered.

  12. Premium User Badge AngelTear says:

    If I actually had friends to play this with, I think I’d love it. But knowing that I’m forced to play in single player (or with strangers, and that’s very hit and miss, mostly miss) always puts me off this kind of games, where a big part of the pleasure is in sharing.

    I think, for people like me, it needs some encouragement towards playing with strangers, and make approaching and collaborating with others easier, as in MMOs or certain multiplayer games (L4D) where, trolls aside, you can play with pretty much anyone.

    In other words, this game sounds great if you have friends, but terrible if you lack them or if you want to get to know more people. At least, that’s the sensation I get as someone who has never played it. I’d like to know if I’m wrong.

    • Premium User Badge colossalstrikepackage says:

      I’ve only played it in single player and have loved every second of it. I really enjoy the freedom of doing my thing, and not getting frustrated with friends who want to do theirs. Perhaps it works for some very like minded people, but especially when building, I really enjoyed making my virtual home base just so.

      For context, I bounced off mine craft and cube world. So it might be worth giving this beauty a shot. Even in single player. You might be pleasantly surprised.

      However, I’d recommend checking out YouTube LP’s. My favourite is done by Gamer’s Dissent.

      • GamesInquirer says:

        You can play with friends and do your own thing. You’re not restricted to being in the same place but when you need help or encounter or build something you wish to share alongside passing along or trading items you can meet up (when in the same party people can instantly click to warp to anyone’s ship and then down to the surface as normal). You can also use the same character offline (but the offline world is separate and won’t transfer to the online portion, only your character and ship content will be shared across modes). You’ll just have to assign the most suitable person/hardware in the group to 24/7 server hosting duties (it’s not that demanding for a handful of people) so that anyone can play in the shared universe at any time.

    • tasteful says:

      lol are you from myspace 2004

    • hungrycookpot says:

      I felt the same way about Terraria, I generally play alone, cuz I don’t like waiting for friends or having to play at a specific time, I just like to jump into a game for an hour or two and then leave when I want. Terraria never captured me, even in the same way Minecraft did when I started it, but I was assured this was because it was singleplayer.

      I’ve been playing the Starbound beta with a large group of friends, and I suspect that Starbound will be much the same to the solo player as Terraria was, sort of hollow, but probably has better loner integration, because of the drop-in/out nature of the game, where you can join a MP game and bring your ship along with you, and then take back your spoils to your home planet.

      At the moment, the game has 0 matchmaking capabilities, so you won’t be meeting any new friends through the Starbound client, but as usual, I’m sure you could find any number of solid friendly groups of players to drop in on through various messageboards or forums, who’d be glad to have you.

  13. jonahcutter says:

    I haven’t played it yet, but I was wondering how well the different worlds really work.

    Is there even a point to traveling to different worlds? You leave behind any structures and tunnel network you built, which was much of the appeal in Terreria. You could essentially travel to different worlds in that game as well, by keeping your character but generating a new world. Although it looks like it’s better integrated into the game with the spaceship in Starbound, is there a big difference really from Terreria in that aspect?

    • Nevard says:

      Planet tiering pretty much replaces the depth tiering that exists in Terraria, instead of digging deeper to find more hostile areas with better rewards you fly elsewhere
      You can still dig deep in Starbound but all I could find were harder monsters and pots containing trivial amount of money, there doesn’t seem to be any purpose in reaching the core except for if you want to farm metal ores, hopefully that’s just something they are going to develop later

      • hungrycookpot says:

        Not totally true, the main difference is that in Starbound, your tools never fully gate you from digging. You can always (ATM) use the matter manipulator to mine deeper, and afais your metal picks never stop working, they just get slower. The monster levels are the gates for now.

        And as for digging deeper, there are unique underground biomes and dungeon features that you can find, usually of a higher monster/loot level than the surface of given planet, and albeit slower than warping to a new planet and running the surface, you can find really cool stuff deep in a planet already.

    • dE says:

      So far, you won’t find everything on one planet and will need to travel to other planets. The thing about the structures holds true though, there’s a reason most people just build their crafting stuff within the ship. I think the word “locust” summons up the current gameplay. Unless you really want to, you’re less building up places and more coming down like a mighty swarm of locusts, plundering and pilfering everything you can get, destroying entire ecosystems for some fuel and minerals and then you’re off to another planet, leaving behind a trail of locals in their personal pool of blood.

      • jonahcutter says:

        That’s an interesting dichotomy. For all its cutesy prettiness, the gameplay casts you as a soulless imperialist raping and pillaging every planet you come across. But boy does this rug I murdered someone for go great with the sofa in my luxurious starship!

        • Shodex says:

          I stumbled upon a lavish tomb filled with sarcophagi and religious artifacts, it was quite interesting. My interest was disturbed by a spear toting religious alien who screamed, “Begone, heretic!” and “This place is sacred!” at me. I was trespassing, and this clearly was a very important place to people.

          Being the culturally accepting kind, I did what any gentleman would do. I slaughtered every alien I saw, smashed tombs and relics to find what’s inside, and tore down religious artifacts to later decorate my ship.

        • Lemming says:

          Presumably, when they’ve given the npc AI an overhaul, they’ll react to you molecularly disassembling their homes just because you want their stuff. It’s just at the moment there seems to be a lack of consequence that I can’t believe will remain in later versions. It’ll be interesting to see if they come up with something similar for mining/destroying the wilderness on some planets as well.

          Frankly, I’m not sure why they didn’t have your ship at the start be crashed fully on the planet, as it’s by far the most useful ‘home’ to begin with and you start there every time you exit the game until you build more teleporters, AFAIK. Starting the game by relying on low-tech survival until you can repair/refuel your ship to then go about the galaxy would be much cooler, IMO.

      • HothMonster says:

        You can set a home world, so you can quickly and easily get back to your base. To deposit and sort through all the stuff you stole from those poor decimated worlds. So I have some bare essentials crafting stations on my ship but I have a mighty fortress of loot and shiny stuff back on my homeworld.

  14. fish99 says:

    I’ve barely scratched the surface so far with just 3 hrs played, so this is just my first impressions (as someone who has played a ton of Minecraft and Terraria), but holy crap does the game start slowly. The mining times of the default mining tool are insanely long, like 20+ second just to harvest one vine to make bandages. Then you get the iron pick, which is faster but still very slow. Honestly, all those times need halving.

    Also agree about the combat, it needs some work. Other than that though, I enjoyed what I played of it, and want to see more. If it eventually has as much content as Terraria, or even more, then it’s gonna be great.

    • abrokenchinadoll says:

      You’re supposed to use the AXE…(trees and plants)

      • fish99 says:

        Lol…… how do I make one of those? Didn’t see it in the crafting table list. The mining ores is just as bad though.

        • abrokenchinadoll says:

          wood is required (I know its painful but you have to use the manipulator and or pickaxe on trees till you get wood and or find one in a crate/treasure chest)

          • fish99 says:

            Thanks. I thought I had loads of wood, and I didn’t see an axe in the list even with the “only show items I have materials for” tick-box turned off, but I’ll have another look later.

          • HothMonster says:

            It shows up when you are at a crafting table. (Remember to hit ‘E’ on the crafting table, you don’t just open the crafting window in front of it like Terraria) Needs wood planks not unrefined wood iirc.

    • Lemming says:

      To be fair that starting mining tool is also the tool that lets you place things in the world, so as an overall tool is easily the coolest thing that ever existed!

  15. SkittleDiddler says:

    What’s the word on the UI? That’s what ruined Terraria for me, and I’d rather not pay into yet another builder game with a crappy interface.

    • Bull0 says:

      IMO already better than the horrendous Terraria UI but still has some quirks of its’ own (it has this habit of sticking stuff you pick up into free slots on your hot bar instead of in your inventory, which kept confusing me)

  16. abrokenchinadoll says:

    Ive sunk in at least 40 hours already. I haven’t even explored underground. (mostly above surface stuff) I know I missed tons of stuff because my friends who have a server up all have interesting weird items from below. I really like the modding community for this one. The thoughts and ideas people already have its amazing. The plan for planetary annihilation. The way the ships will be worked on. The lore people are already giving it before its even out. I’m excited to see what happens in the future of this game.

  17. Gothnak says:

    I’ve never played Terraria or Minecraft (yeah, i know, just didn’t excite me) and i played Starbound for a few hours at the weekend. It was blooming difficult to work out how to do everything in the beginning, especially as there weren’t any trees within 3 mins in either direction!

    But now i have a crap Pick, a crap Bow, and i’m starting to get a bit braver and head further from the starting area. My girlfriend is happy just watching me play it on the TV and shouting if a flying snails are coming to attack while i’m planting vegetables.

  18. pupsikaso says:

    And how’s the game in solo mode? I don’t have friends that would ever play a game like this.
    Terraria was super-boring playing solo. It was just dig dig dig – OH! I found copper! Let’s make copper stuff. Makes copper suit of armour/picks/weapons. Yay! Cool new loot, let’s go digging! Dig dig dig – OH! I found iron! Let’s make iron stuff… ad nauseum.

    • abrokenchinadoll says:

      The guys and gals working on it want to add more questing into it. A long with ship battles and tons of other unique stuff. Those in the modding community already have plans to do much more with it if chucklefish doesn’t go with their plans lol.

  19. vpillsgold says:

    Yes, I spent a few days building a super nice house and decorating it then build the distress beacon not knowing what to expect and as I hid in my house thinking about how I was going to destroy this thing it blew a whole in my roof and dynamite strapped penguins exploded everything! http://www.v-pillsbuyut.com regards.

  20. geldonyetich says:

    Though I largely played it solo, my experiences largely match that of Craig here.

    I’d probably still be playing Starbound, but I “beat” it in two days. That is, if you accept “beating it” means getting to the Gamma sector, which is really not quite ready for the player yet. Some people have actually managed to get their hands on the armor needed to transcend the gamma sector, but I imagine this involved either stupid persistence to grind platinum while being one-hit-killed by whatever, or cheating. Even beating the beta sector boss involves exploiting its inability to break blocks, because taking it on in level-15 armor is not too likely to work.

    Good news is, this upcoming version and “wipe” (which is really just making the old characters incompatible) means I can play Starbound all over again. I look forward to seeing how the new balance stacks up, because the old “armor penetration” balance is going the way of the dodo for many good reasons.

    • wu wei says:

      Quickest way to grind platinum is to dupe it in the 3d printer: add a platinum bar to the scanner then hit escape and it drops 2 of them.

    • GamesInquirer says:

      There are many reasonable level planets where platinum is found in clusters near the surface. I found more platinum than iron, that armor wasn’t hard to get for me.

      There’s also a sector after gamma but it’s definitely imbalanced for now.

  21. teamcharlie says:

    Played some Minecraft, never got into it. Couldn’t even be bothered to try Terraria. But man, Starbound is something else. It’s funny while always being a little bit tragic and hopeful, the music is brilliant and there are all sorts of loving little touches here and there to make the universe feel more real. Some systems need to get solidified of course: for me, it’s the homeworld terraforming and the story. Like apparently a quarter of the players, I too wish you had to rebuild your ship on the starting planet and that there was a better warning not to build the beacon until you’re ready. But there is a great sense of a living breathing universe in my game with an apparently endless supply of secrets to unlock.

    Worst part of the game: assuming that the new patch borks old saves, I cannot convince myself to play until then because I feel like my character will kaboom. But that attachment that forms so quickly is a lot of why this game is so great. GotY.

  22. MellisaGSaunders says:

    my best friend’s aunt makes 80 dollar an hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her income was 14926 dollar just working on the computer for a few hours. look at these guys.. ………………………….. http://www.fb49.com

  23. nimbulan says:

    I’ve been having a lot of fun but there are definitely some things that need changing. Besides the combat rebalance (which I’m worried about, I think they made it too simplistic and may run into the same issues the current system has,) the loot in the game is quite lacking. Finding chests is extremely rare, and they almost never have anything useful in them. I have yet to find a randomly generated weapon that’s anywhere close to as good as a crafted one, even legendary quality items. An easier way to manage parties, servers, and planets would be really helpful as well.

    It is a beta after all so I’m definitely looking forward to future additions and changes.

  24. mgardner says:

    Third screenshot, your “totally hot redhead human”: My brain cannot decide if it is a man with breasts or a woman with a moustache. Totally hot either way though!

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  26. eeikka says:

    I’ve been playing playing for some time this, and I can say it has lot of potential. It’s beta, so it’s still missing much.

    I’d love to see more story included, at the moment you’re told you are fleeing from home planet as some mysterious unknown enemy wipes it off. This gives impression of danger and that you might be quite unprepared for surviving some unknown planets conditions.. But.. instead of .. danger and imminent need to find shelter and plan your next move from there.. you are welcomed by joyful quests about farming and cooking.. I think there is some sort of gap in logic here : )

  27. eeikka says:

    Also one other thing, can somebody explain why they spend so much time in .. developing death penalty? I’m failing to find the fun at losing pixels. (not that I ever have been short of them)

    For example check the discussion over reddit
    http://www.reddit.com/r/starbound/comments/1sdh0j/hey_guys_i_made_a_mod_to_store_pixels_with_style/

    How can they be so excited that ‘yes, you should lose pixels on dying.. or if you want to safe deposit you should also lose huge amount. And reason to lose pixels from storing is because if you die, you’ll lose them, so with this logic you should lose even more’ .. Somewhat troubling point of view from developer : )