The Moon Unstuck: Moonrise

Shattered Horizon, the zero-G astronaut deathmatch game from Futuremark Games Studio, didn’t have enough levels. That’s been remedied today with a free expansion, Moonrise, that delivers another four maps to the game. I have to say that while the game doesn’t seem to have captured people’s imaginations generally, this kind of space-porn level design is just the kind of thing I’d like to see more of. It’s kind of a shame it’s purely multiplayer, but perhaps if Futuremark can make a success of this they can look at something using the same tech in the future. Anyway, the full game is $15 on Steam, and there’s a video of the new levels looking all moody below.


  1. RogB says:

    i might have found my imagination more captured if they did a version that worked on XP

    • EaterOfCheese says:

      I’ll buy it when I upgrade to win7, but that will be a while (i.e. as long as possible).

  2. jsutcliffe says:

    Is the game managing to maintain an active community? It sounds like fun, but I don’t want to fork out for something I won’t be able to get much use out of.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Yeah, there are usually a couple Euro servers that are fairly active. Yes it is quite a small community and the game would benefit from a fee weekend but you can find games.

  3. HermitUK says:

    One of the reasons so few people stuck with it was cause the lack of XP support really shrunk the community down. It’s also a massive resource hog (as in, Crysis runs better on high/very high on my rig than this game). It’s a genius idea, mind, from playing it I just got the impression time and again that it needs to be made by some game developers, not benchmark testers.

    • damien says:

      but its lighting effects are so far beyond what else is out there.

      i guess i’m just not used to hearing pc-gamers lament the existence (and visual quality) of games that push the technical envelope.

    • Frools says:

      Its a resource hog because it looks absolutely stunning, its probably the best looking game out now
      I play it on low with a 4870 to keep FPS smooth and it still looks great.

      Honestly i feel the real reason it never really took off is the learning curve coupled with it being a fairly purist type of shooter, it doesnt have all the silly gimmicks that people have come to expect from games.
      It just has balance and awesome :P

  4. damien says:

    in general, i think i’m just grumpy about the fact that 90% of the negative opinions i hear about shattered horizon are from people who’ve never played it, because they are still running XP and refuse to update.

    (even tho they are overpaying for their DX10 / 11 GPUs and never using any of that extra hardware in anything they play…)

    shattered horizon is a rare DX10 game that justifies its version exclusivity in *every* frame you play, from the lighting effects to the shadows. its a game full of exactly the sort of graphic-porn pc-gamers used to love.

    and yet, people just see the DX10 label and sulk away.

    its strange.

    • Michael says:

      Well, I don’t have a DX10 card so, you know. I have no complaints about games taking advantage of DX10 but it’s just common sense to provide a lower spec rendering option for the rest of us. It’s particularly important as being DX10 only precludes porting to the XBOX, wherein much money can be made. There’s a reason why Crysis 2 is multi-platform.

    • Nick says:

      Happy to pay for everyones OS upgrade, are you?

    • Melf_Himself says:

      Windows 7 is quite recent and Vista was a steaming pile of dog-poo. I’d be surprised if most gamers weren’t running XP.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I’d like to hear the opinion of someone who’s used Vista recently. I’ve been using the fucker since a few months after launch, and have never had a single problem. Hell, a lot of my games saw a performance boost.

      Meanwhile, Windows 7 couldn’t go 30 seconds without a bluescreen, and has no classic start menu option. WHY WOULD YOU TAKE AWAY MY CLASSIC START MENU?

  5. Warduke says:

    Unfortunately I’m guessing the majority of PC gamers are going to be XP users for years to come yet (look at Steam’s data). I don’t know anyone not building a system that’s going out to get Windows 7 and the general consensus among my gaming friends is that Vista is a dog.

    • Poindexter says:

      If you actually look at the steam survey data from January and add up the DirectX 10 compatible operating systems (Win7 64+32, WinVista 32+64) you’ll find that they make up ~56.45% of systems surveyed. So WinXP is no longer the majority of gamers(that use Steam).

  6. Fatrat says:

    I hear all this talk about how great the graphics are and such, but i had it on quite high settings on my rig, and it looked worse than SOOOO many other FPS games do these days. I found the lack of weapons to be just as annoying as the maps… i haven’t played it since shortly after i got it in the xmas sale, but isnt there just one gun, and about 3 types of grenades? It doesn’t make for a very interesting game, imo.

    My rig is a Q6600 @ 3Ghz, 6Gb RAM, 9800 GTX, running on Win 7 Pro… which i think is a capable system. Yet both Crysis and GTA 4 (which was notorious for being a resource hog) both looked WAY better and ran WAY smoother, than Shattered Horizon.

    I just didn’t find it to be well made at all, the trailer made me excited, the game deflated that excitement, i’m not cheap, but i found myself wanting back the ”change” (£5?) i actually paid for this title.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      You have 1 gun, but it has 6 fire modes and combining them gives you lots of tactical possibilities.

    • Aankhen says:

      [retrying since it wasn’t registered as a reply to this comment, sorry for the spam]

      GTA 4? Are you kidding? I ran that on my Q8400/Radeon 4870/4 GB RAM system. It ran like a dog—far worse than Crysis at max settings, at 1680×1050 with no AA or AF in either game—and looked like a game from 2006.

  7. Chiablo says:

    My pants tighten at this news.

  8. speedwaystar says:

    The “mild suggestive themes” in the Teen Rating are because of the space porn, I guess?

  9. Dangerdad says:

    Give me a free weekend to try it out. I just went to Win7 so I could at least try it out now. But I’m not going to drop $20 (that’s the price on steam right now, not $15) for an unknown game with unknown community.

  10. DrGonzo says:

    Got this for 3 quid in a steam sale and love it. Best game for 3 quid I’ve ever played! It’s Quake with no up or down. It confuses the hell out of me. It’s nice to play a first person shooter that I don’t understand straight away, actually required learning a whole new set of skills.

  11. Neut says:

    I forked out for this purely for the original concept. It’s a pity it’s multiplayer only as the levels have quite a lot of atmosphere in them. The most fun I’ve had were on the “practice” servers where damage is disabled, just floating around in silent running mode with no sound except for my breathing and heartbeat.

    • Nick says:

      “the levels have quite a lot of atmosphere in them”

      I thought the opposite was the whole point.


  12. szlevi says:

    It’s very nice graphics and also very nice graphics and of course, the graphics is very nice… did I mention graphics is very-very nice?

    It’s a MP-only game with a gameplay that is pure boredom – I tried to like it over and over again but it just does not work, it’s pure boredom, at least in my opinion.
    Instead of adding maps they need to add more game modes unless they are happy with sub-100 player numbers at best (ie Saturday-Sunday.)

  13. Hmm says:

    As it’s been said already, this game didn’t become as popular as it should for three reasons:
    – no XP support (which is still big)
    – it was released in a very busy season and being a multiplayer-only game, it was bound to be eaten alive by the likes of Left 4 Dead 2 or Modern Warfare 2
    – lack of single player mode and/or promotion, so many people didn’t even hear about this game.

    I’d say it begs for a SP campaign too boost interest (something like Penumbra, Half-life 1 or System Shock 2 in space would be amazing).

    Here’s hoping Futuremark will not be scared of Shattered Horizon’s not-so-great-reception and keep making PC exclusives.
    With Windows 7 slowly gaining popularity (despite Microsoft’s efforts to kill Windows gaming), the “it requires DX10!” barrier will soon disappear.

  14. Kelron says:

    Had a quick game on two of the new maps, and it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had with the game. I’ve always liked the concept, but most of the original maps (especially Moondust) felt too big and open. The new maps focus the action more, make it harder to get lost and give you more opportunity to hide behind the terrain.

  15. Agrajag says:

    Right, never heard of this before, but I am officially willing to make the leap from XP to 7 just get a taste of the game.

  16. Horatius says:

    I think it’s really cool that this game was made, because I get to look at some amazing level design and screenshots, but that’s all I’ll get out of it I reckon. The combination of deathmatch only and high system requirements really cuts out all the playing appeal for me. Not only am I generally put off by a lack of solo or co-op options, but to spend so much in visual resources on a twitchkrieg game is just wasteful. The very nature of deathmatch games means your brain will exclude all data that could distract you from staying alive. All that smooth lighting, those intricate textures, the lovingly crafted worlds, they ALL get thrown into the dustbin by your brain, because it allocating maximum resources to detecting movement and making sure your reflexes can kill it.

    RPS staff: Have you ever considered writing about this phenomenon? We all know it happens, why does it not get discussed in games journalism?

    • DarkNoghri says:

      Deathmatch only? Team deathmatch and a capture point mode as well.

      Honestly, this is a slower shooter than some others I’ve played recently, as you don’t go really fast outside of boosting or nade jumping.

      Not that that really negates your point, but still….

    • Horatius says:

      You’re right, I was over-generalizing to make a point. Also, I don’t want anyone to think I’m singling this game out, just that the setting and visuals are so fresh compared to what else is out there, I feel like it can’t make best use of those assets in a straight shooter role.

  17. TychoCelchuuu says:

    I really like this game, especially for the $3.75 I got it for during the Steam Christmas sale. 3d is really a whole new dimension for a multiplayer FPS. It’s really well done in my book, although I wish more people played the non-DM game mode.

  18. Count Elmdor says:

    This game is really nice, guys. You should give it a try if you can run it.

  19. Dustin Diamond's Sex-Tape says:

    i believe in shattered horizon.

    anyone played eternal silence, the source mod? i just had a glorious, glorious epiphany.

    this feels pretty good, think i’m gonna go work one out.

  20. Dangerdad says:

    I guess another question is, anyone have any guest passes to share?

  21. Gutter says:

    I play this game, and the maps aren’t all meteorites and floating brown crap. Why is the trailer for a DLC for new maps so bleak and nondescript? The only thing that seem “new” in the whole damn video is the honeycomb solar panel, that we see for 3 seconds.

  22. malkav11 says:

    If there were a singleplayer campaign and/or cooperative (team deathmatch so doesn’t count) play, I’d probably be all over it. Competitive multi only shooters do nada for me.

    • Subject 706 says:

      Seconded. I really, really, really wanted them to make an SP campaign for this, ’cause it looks really great.

      But I hate multiplayer…

  23. Aankhen says:

    GTA 4? Are you kidding? I ran that on my Q8400/Radeon 4870/4 GB RAM system. It ran like a dog—far worse than Crysis at max settings, at 1680×1050 with no AA or AF in either game—and looked like a game from 2006.

  24. Shadowcat says:

    Vista/7-only AND multi-player only?! Yikes. One of those things alone is damaging enough to sales in the majority of cases, let alone both together. They weren’t exactly aiming at the mass market, were they?

    Hopefully their niche was still big enough for them to do okay out of it, though; and good on them for making the game they wanted to make (I presume).

    • Ovno says:

      Was supposed to be a reply to

      Poindexter says:
      February 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      If you actually look at the steam survey data from January and add up the DirectX 10 compatible operating systems (Win7 64+32, WinVista 32+64) you’ll find that they make up ~56.45% of systems surveyed. So WinXP is no longer the majority of gamers(that use Steam).

    • DarkNoghri says:

      He’s referring to the OS, not OS + DX10 GPU.

  25. Rane2k says:

    Hm… this game has been on my radar for a while, but I didn´t know about the system requirements (Win XP on my gaming PC…).

    Guess they don´t want my money then. :-/

  26. Baboonanza says:

    I might give the new levels a go tonight. I actually really like the game, it requires a bit more strategy and thought than an ordinary fast-paced shooter IMO.

    I’ve got 2-3 guest passes available if anyone would like to try it. PM me your Steam id, first come first served.

  27. snv says:

    I thought the idea of the game interesting, but steam will not get on my PC

  28. StoneMason says:

    I got the game on release, it filled in the week or so before MW2. It’s a bit of a resource hog, you pretty much have to run high shaders and textures, otherwise the game starts to look like a dog (either that, or the lower shader settings bug out on my PC). I thought the gameplay was great, once you get the hang of movement a whole world of tactical options open up. Jousting with enemy players is pretty badass.

    The real thing that lets the game down is lack of ingame voice chat. Pub games are pretty frantic and never speaking to a member of your team doesn’t help.

    link to – Anime series that seems to be a pretty big inspiration.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      From what I’ve heard, voice chat is being worked on. I’m kind of surprised it didn’t go in with this update.

      Wait, I just had this marvelous idea to check the actual changelog.

      Patch last week:
      Added in game voice chat support offering talk to team, talk to all, player muting and global disable.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Voice chat is already in. In fact, this update was included with the voice chat one.

      (They snuck the Moonrise levels into the game when they patched voice chat in.)

  29. Baboonanza says:

    I was playing last night. The voice chat is eery, it synthesises what you type. It’s weird and unsettling.