Laser! Laser! Gratuitous Space Battles In Motion

Positech have been busy capturing the essence of spacewar for their new strategy/management/simulation game, Gratuitous Space Battles, and we get a glimpse of it here: giant, glacial capital ships firing colossal beam lasers through swarms of tiny fighter craft. Yeah, that’s the stuff. Cliffski knows what to do. Now go! Witness those titular space battles below. (And I have to say, this one really interests me, and not simply because I’m an unmitigated spacewar nerd.)


  1. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, like I said, Nexus as its combat engine with an empire-building game on top would have been excellent – a bit like Empire: Total War in space. As is, it was an excellent linear tactical space combat sim with dreadful writing.

  2. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    This is basically pornography.


  3. jonfitt says:

    Hey Cliffski. Next game: just like this but Mechs instead of spaceships!

    It’s been a long time since we had a good mech game.

  4. Matzerath says:

    Whoa – I played this as a freeware game a couple years back. The spaceship art was considerably more primitive, almost like scanned pencil drawings, and the laser and explosion effects were nowhere near this cool. What a difference a few years make! It was mildly amusing in its original incarnation, but now it definitely looks like something I would pay for.

  5. Nick says:

    Indie game in less than cutting edge graphics shocker? Yeesh people.

  6. yns88 says:

    About the explosions: To be fair, this is space we’re talking about, so nobody’s REALLY sure what a spaceship’s explosion would look like, but a standard explosion in space would cause the fireball to expand and dissipate in a fraction of a second, appearing as a bright flash that disappears immediately afterwards.

    A large spaceship explosion would be more tangible due to the materials it contains, but it would still be very different from an Earth explosion. I think the best way to represent it is to have a sharp flash on certain parts of the ship, while the parts that were blown up shoot off randomly into space at very high speeds, until there’s nothing left. And definitely no smoke trails.

    link to

    Also, I’m not sure if you’ve answered this before, but the sound effects do need some variation. Or you could perhaps go the realistic route and omit them entirely~

  7. cliffski says:

    I had an annoying sound bug that made them sound more regular and repetitive than they should. It’s fixed now :D Plus those sounds aren’t final…

  8. Grey_Ghost says:

    Why does this remind me of Master of Orion 2?

  9. troy says:

    all i can say is…

    send me the pre order button now !!

  10. DK says:

    “Hmmm – yes, this looks very much like Homeworld/Homeworld 2, however, Homeworld 2 is 6 years old and considering how the gameplay is said to be completely different from that (award-winning) game I’m a bit skeptical.”
    It looks nothing like Homeworld. At all. It’s a 2D, 2-axis, pre-battle planned space combat simulator with a ship editor. Not even the visual style has anything to do with Homeworld (since this is quite clearly retro high-sci-fi, while Homeworld was semi-hard-sci-fi styled).

    And for the person claming space games have to be 3-axis – I recommend you try Starfleet Command, one of the best space combat sims to date.

  11. sinister agent says:

    Hurrah! This is coming along rather well, looks to be the kind of thing you could tinker with obsessively for days on end just to see how many configurations worked.

    Incidentally, did we ever get an update on Cliffski’s piracy experiment? I’d be interested to know how it went.

    Uh oh, I said the BAD WORD.

  12. Paganite says:

    lol, sound in space.

  13. Helm says:

    If this is anything as hands-on as Sean O’Connor’s Critical Mass shareware game for windows, then I’m totally game!

  14. Caiman says:

    I love the way that we automatically accept as perfectly normal anything involving Tolkien-esque creatures, massive beekcake marines lugging around several tonnes of power armour, or anthropomorphic animals flying gliders… but set a game in space and oh no! Why can we hear the sound effects? Why is it set in a 2D plane? Why do the ships blow up like fireworks? Fer pete’s sake!

  15. Paganite says:

    lol, some one is sad that a person on the internet doesn’t like sound in space.

  16. Aldo says:

    My computer has a ‘volume’ button. It appears to some handy device for removing sound, for example in space. Perhaps this innovation could remove any issues of ‘sound in space’ through the process of de-voluming?

  17. tifaucz says:

    Its a Battleships Forever clone, but its looking very interesting.

  18. Paganite says:

    Homeworld was the best though, you could turn off sound effects, but keep radio chatter and music on. The space battles were far more awesome when they were silent, except for the worried radio chatter.

    lol at Aldo – why would I want all sound off in a game – you sound like you are making a facetious comment. Also de-voluming? what public school system produced you?

  19. shiggz says:

    I hope this is as much fun as your other game “Democracy”. I love playing through and one time giving conservatives everything they say they want and then once through and giving liberals everything they ask for. Fascinating to to just set everything and then let it run for years and watch things play out.

    Speaking of “mount and blade” id love a space and apocalyptic version of that game.

  20. shiggz says:

    Also if your looking for game ideas i think a lot us have unsatisfied Oregon trail fever.