Space Party: StarCrawlers Swaps Dungeons For Derelicts

By Graham Smith on February 3rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Here’s one of the many routes to becoming a game journalist: 1) Follow a bunch of game developers on Twitter, Tumblr, or anywhere else you find developers in the wild. 2) When they release a game or announce a game, tell people. Here’s apparently the only route left to being a game developer: 1) Make a procedurally-generated game set in space.

Thankfully there’s lots of different kinds of space games. StarCrawlers is “an endless first-person RPG adventure with procedurally generated levels, enemies, events, and loot.” StarCrawlers has “deep character customization and a tactical time-unit based combat system to create an endless dungeon crawling experience.” StarCrawlers “looks a bit Legend of Grimrock but set inside derelict spaceships instead of underground dungeons.”

That last quote was from me. Trailer below.

I like the idea that derelict spaceships are basically spacedungeons. Are all buildings with corridors dungeons? Do I live in a housedungeon?

I haven’t played many of these grid-steppy first-person games, as I’m not normally a fan of their combat. I do like the sound of the character development and multiple-choice-obstacle bits in StarCrawlers, though. Multiple-choice-obstacle bits are my favourite. There’s another trailer showing more combat detail, and a second-by-second breakdown of what’s happening in the combat. It explains more about the classes you can have in your party and the decisions you’ll be making moment to moment.

StarCrawlers is being created by Juggernaut Games, who are made up of former developers of “the Home platform.” Presumably that refers to the flopped PlayStation 3 Second Lifealike. It accounts for the excellent – and surprisingly cute! – animation in the trailers, though StarCrawlers looks considerably less likely to be shit. Go follow it.

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29 Comments »

  1. dE says:

    I’m really enjoying this resurgence of tile based dungeon crawlers. I didn’t know how much I missed it until I played the recent Might and Magic X: Legacy. I just hope it doesn’t include Grid Dancing, as that put me off Grimrock pretty quickly.

    • BTAxis says:

      That trailer seems to suggest it doesn’t. In fact, the feeling I get is that all combat sequences are played out in a different view altogether, since the background for every fight they showed was exactly the same.

    • RedWurm says:

      Judging by the combat video, it’s a turn based encounter battle thing, so no dodging and strafing. Which is a bit odd considering laser guns and all, but games.

      • Crane says:

        Yes, dodging and strafing are key ingredients in my combat strategy when fighting someone armed with a weapon that fires its projectiles at the speed of light!

        But yes, I too prefer more action in my combat.

        • BTAxis says:

          It’s not about dodging lasers (or even bullets) though. It’s about making yourself a moving target, so it’s harder for the other side to aim at you.

    • RedViv says:

      The game follows the Wizardry model of random and placed encounters, so there’s no tile tango involved.

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  2. Lemming says:

    That may scratch a sci-fi itch for me, actually. Getting quite tired of medieval fantasy settings. The marriage of jrpg-like turn-based combat seems to work well, too. An obvious combination when you think about it!

    • Wizardry says:

      What’s JRPG about it?

      • Lemming says:

        battles take place separately and are turn-based. It’s obvious when you watch the combat video.

        • jrodman says:

          Like Ultima III then?

          (Though I admit the visual style does remind me of xenosaga, but I think Ultima III was the model that created this trope.)

        • Wizardry says:

          That’s not a JRPG thing.

  3. DarkFarmer says:

    did not see them yet but, needs biological monstrosities, and also possibly space demons.

  4. Gothnak says:

    Makes me want to play Captive again… Best Spacedungeon game ever!

  5. XhomeB says:

    A turn-based, sci-fi dungeon crawler? OK, gimme gimme!
    Having a blast with Might and Magic X at the moment, so a change of scenery in a game of similar type would be great.
    With that said, the bit about “complete randomness” worries me. If there’s one thing I like in blobbers, it’s the hand-crafted nature of the dungeons, it’s that attention to detail that sheer randomness cannot replicate.

  6. The Random One says:

    Tiny enemy crabby

  7. Gap Gen says:

    So people who break into your housedungeon, kill you and steal your valuables aren’t burglars, they’re mighty heros.

  8. Turkey says:

    This looks awesome. The name sounds like the title of a facebook game, though.

  9. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Is that turn-based combat I see? That alone makes it appeal far more than Grimrock — it looks almost like Etrian [Space] Odyssey.

  10. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Those of us who go through life taking strictly orthogonal 2m strides welcome this game.

    • RedViv says:

      Ekthcuthe me, but it’th definitely 152 POINT FOUR thentimeterth, not two meterth, becauthe it hath to be the width and length of one thingle dundtheon thquare tile.

    • Lemming says:

      As a rook, it’s nice to be catered to for a change.

  11. Moraven says:

    The link with further details and video (quoted remarks that reveal more about the game):

    StarCrawlers has grid based WASD (+ QE strafe) movement that should feel familiar to veterans of first person dungeon crawls, with smooth continuous movement if you’re holding down walk.

    And here’s the doorman – a Crabby from Inferno Squad. Enemies in Explore mode have a variety of actions they can take to cause trouble for you before you close for combat, and can alert each other of your presence – you can see Crabby telling his buddies he’s seen you right before combat starts.

    Combat Mode! Enemies in Explore Mode represent 1 to 5 foes once you transition into combat. We started combat with this Crabby head on, so neither side gets any special bonuses – if they had snuck up on us or vice versa, someone would be getting a sweet initiative bonus, sorting them into the battle order earlier.

    >>> StarCrawlers uses a time unit combat system. Quick attacks costs less TU, slow attacks cost lots of TU, and the TU cost determines where you end up in the battle order. A character with lots of fast actions such as the Cyber Ninja can execute several actions before the next character acts, while the Soldier tends to favor beefier attacks with a high TU cost.

    Shields and Hitpoints are vital to your character! Shields are your first line of defense against getting dead, so you want to stack those up to avoid damage to your Hitpoints. Shield energy regenerates very slowly in combat and with every step you take out of combat, so you can’t rely on them alone to keep you alive. Hitpoints don’t regenerate in combat or in explore mode, unless you’ve packed some medkits – surviving a mission is all about making smart choices in both Explore and Combat to keep your team alive.

    Exp for levels and weapon skills

    • jrodman says:

      I would classify that as turn-based, but perhaps they feel turn-based implies the simplest form possible.

  12. jrodman says:

    Hm, I generally have not liked most procedural dungeon crawls. They tend to end up feeling samey and mindless. Good roguelikes tend to sidestep the problem by allowing you to do the boring stuff extremely quickly because of the control scheme + interface presentation, and by making you feel in danger at all times.

    In a first person view, though, I tend to care a good deal more about the structural layout of the place, and when the layout starts to feel full of repeats I lose interest.

    I hope this team finds a way around those problems!

  13. Protoplasmic says:

    I’m quickly becoming a fan of Ben Prunty’s music.