Shattered Horizon: Free Weekend

Futuremark Games Studio just dropped us a line to mention that their astro-shooter, Shattered Horizon, is having one of those free weekend things on Steam. They say: “Shattered Horizon will be free to play and 50% off to purchase for the duration of the weekend.” That’s this weekend, 19th-21st. This will include the new Moonrise levels that they released this week. And I’ll be on there to check out the fresh space rubble.


  1. Labbes says:

    Great. I guess I know what all my friends will be playing, at least if it’s good.

  2. linfosoma says:

    I like this game (got a guest pass when it was released), but it simply doesn’t run porperly on my hardware, I0ll give it another try this weekend, but most likely Im going to pass.

  3. jsutcliffe says:

    Just what the doctor ordered! I have doubts about whether I’ll get it running smoothly, but I’m crossing my fingers.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The recommended specs are actually recommended for it to run at 60+fps with everything on max. The specs required to play the game are actually a fair bit lower.

      If you do run into problems, your first two steps should be to turn ambient occlusion off and then run it windowed at a lower resolution.

  4. Flameberge says:

    Excellent, wanted to give this a try for a while, but the tepid to lukewarm critical reception the game received kept me from splashing out with the realz moniez.

    • westyfield says:

      Yeah, same here. I heard good things from friends, but there’s always the issue of system capability before purchasing…

  5. AndrewC says:


    Right – who knows how big a download it is, and when we can start the download?

  6. Oneironaut says:

    I’m usually not interested in multiplayer games, but I’ll definitely be checking this out once the download is available.

  7. Bowlby says:

    It looks interesting for a FPS, and I really hope I have the time during the weekend to play it.

  8. wqjvdsciouuiwenhjv says:

    Cool. Will definitely be checking this out this weekend.
    Don’t let me down, and maybe I’ll buy it.

  9. Carra says:

    Don’t forget that you need Vista or Windows 7 to play it.

  10. DMJ says:

    I would play it if my machine let me :(

  11. paul newman says:


  12. Solon says:

    I meet pretty much every requirement except for the fact that I don’t have Windows 7 :(

  13. Fatrat says:

    Terrible ‘game’, it’s more like a tech demo due to the lack of content (weapons especially).

    I wish they’d have had a free weekend before i spent about a fiver on it. I could have spent that on beer and pissed it away. The bathroom urinals would have certainly been a better FPS experience.

    • Droniac says:

      So how good a shooter is depends on the amount of guns available?

      Okay, so one gun with five firing modes and a melee option is not much, true. But it suits the game better than space marines carrying around fifteen different heavy weapons with nigh-unlimited ammo in an otherwise almost-realistic setting.

      Which is one of it’s strengths! External sounds are generated (can be disabled by EMP), flight paths are fixed until you use thrusters to counter your inertia, players only have one gun which is a reasonable amount to carry, you can anchor to objects for increased stability, visor and pack hits are instant kills, etc. It’s all very believable, albeit not entirely realistic – so it remains playable and fun.

      Besides, the core gameplay is solid, fun and – gasp – innovative. It plays unlike any other shooter ever made, it shoots well, the interface is solid and all the required multiplayer features are in place. Not to mention the fact that it looks better than pretty much any shooter out there save for Crysis. It’s a much better multiplayer experience than bug-ridden Wolfenstein or the failure that is Modern Warfare 2, with it’s ridiculously disfunctional matchmaking system.

      As for content: Shattered Horizon contains 8 maps and plenty of game modes (note: Bad Company 2 will release with the same amount of maps and game modes). It’s a little short on the weapons front, but what do you expect of a game that costs less than half the price of a brand new big-budget game?

    • Larington says:

      That’s one of the things that I’ve always been a little wary of – the expectations that a game in a particular genre has to have certain things in a particular way otherwise it’s somehow automatically a terrible game. Like having to have a game with 10 different gun types, etc.

      I know variety is cool and all that, but I’ve always preferred variety across different games rather than the same variety in every single game.

  14. RLacey says:

    Was gifted this by a friend when it was on sale over Christmas. Might actually get around to trying it properly :S.

  15. K.Boogle says:

    This is almost like the fiasco with Crysis and UT3 back in the day. They’ve gone and poured all their hard work into visual quality, ramped up system requirements to ludicrous levels, and expect gamers to buy it? I mean, we need Vista to run the game, and I don’t think Win7 was eve out yet when the game came out, was it? So we have to buy Vista to play a game… that’s backwards thinking. It’s like asking someone to downgrade to a Fred Flintstone foot-powered car in order to get on the highway.

    Now Win7 is out and it seems to be at least not that much worse than XP, but before I go and dump over a hundred bucks into it I want to first see many more games that require DX10. Otherwise, there is simply little reason to get it.

    This seems like a very poor decision for a game company to make, but remember that Futuremark isn’t into making games; they make benchmarks. 3Dmark and all that. Like someone mentioned above, this is a benchmark with a bit of interactivity.

    Had they given the option to scale it down to DX9 levels, a small lovely shooter for $15 that offers a relative novelty in game play (zero gravity has been used in many games before, but I don’t think any had it as the primary focus of the game) would have been a great deal. They should know this =/

    • Rich says:

      I can see why they did it. They specifically wanted to see what you can really do with cutting edge hardware. I agree that it’s really going to limit their potential market though.

      As for me. I’ll probable never bother with it, but if I do it won’t be until I have already upgraded to something that will run it comfortably. No money right now, so that won’t be for a while.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      @ K.Boogle
      So let me see if I understand your post:

      You don’t want to upgrade to a DX10 system until there’s more DX10 games.


      You think Shattered Horizon should be DX9 compatible.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Yeah the whole DX10 fiasco is circular in so so many ways. Like it or not consoles have a lock on games developers and consoles so far are DX9 only so there is no incentive for most developers to introduce new tech that a majority of their market won’t be able to appreciate. Therefore there’s less pressure for PC gamers to upgrade from WinXP because of a lack of must-play DX10 exclusive releases. And despite GfWL, MS isn’t exactly campaigning for the gamer dollar on PC when the 360 is already such a success story.

      The fact is we’re mired until the next generation of consoles matures. But hey, we’re PC gamers! We like it tough, unstable and sometimes downright ugly! There’ll never be an XBOX Live Arcade and PSN version of Dwarf Fortress!

    • Bowlby says:

      I’m inclined to agree with what K.Boogle said, having played the game. It’s a good bit of fun and a nice change of pace from games like MW2, but it also feels a little limited in scope compared to most multiplayer titles now.

      Also, visually, it isn’t that interesting to look at. Obviously, Futuremark wanted to go for the realistic, “simulation”-feel, but it does end up making the game appear like a tech demo.

      I think what’s really bugging me is why they made this game DX10 only (hence, Vista and Windows 7 only) and with such high system requirements in mind. I’ve seen people complaining in the forums about the player count declining…

      Of course it’s declining! Most people’s rigs won’t be able to run the damn thing! On Steam, anyway, only about a quarter of users have a quad-core processor and under half have a DX10/11 capable system. Already, that’s quite a number of potential consumers cut out automatically.

      Anyway, I hope this didn’t come off too rant-y. I like the idea of a Descent revival quite a lot, but the next time someone tries to do something like that I wish they’d make it more system friendly.

  16. Jad says:

    Since there’s no real reason why DX10 doesn’t run on Windows XP other than Microsoft wanting to sell copies of Windows Vista — is there anyway to hack DX10 to run on XP that will work for Shattered Horizons? I’ve got a DX10-capable video card, and a beefy enough system, I just have no desire to plunk down $100+ for a gee-whiz new taskbar and start menu that I don’t want, just so I can play this game.

    • Harper says:

      God forbid you have to pay cash for major upgrades to a companies product.

      And no, there is no “hack” for XP that allows DX10. They are completely different sets of libraries that are completely incompatible with each other.

      Make the change to 7, you won’t regret it. It is a hell of a lot more than a shiny new taskbar(which also happens to be awesome). :)

    • Rich says:

      Riiiiight. I think you’ll find that there really was no technical reason why you couldn’t use DX10 within XP, as the above linky shows. Microsoft simply limited it to Vista and up as part of their ‘upgrades for no good reason’. As way of trying to persuade us to buy and OS that everyone knows is worse than the one we’ve got, but they need the money anyway.

      Before you light the flame guns, Windows 7 looks great, but Vista was a beta version of Windows 7 that they expect us to pay for.

    • Theory says:

      The Alky Project for getting DX10 on XP has long shut down because it was “unable to achieve [its] goal”. Given that it was the work on one 19 year old whose fantastic solution was emulating DX10’s new features on the CPU, this is hardly surprising.

      I’ve no idea how well those libraries you linked to run, but I imagine that “like shit” might be an apt description.

  17. PixelCody says:

    I liked the sound of this one so much I purchased it during the xmas sales.

    Shame I haven’t upgraded to Windows 7 yet and don’t see that happening before the weekend.

  18. abhishek says:

    This game just does not seem to have any staying power with it’s players. When the game came out initially, it used to have ~100 concurrent players online worldwide. Then it dropped down to 30-60 on average… the Steam holiday sale pushed that number up to 800 at one point, but then it dropped back down to the usual 30-50. Even now, with the free content patch just released, it’s barely averaging 100-150, and I fully expect the number will drop down in a week or so once the free weekend is over and the new purchasers have realized that the game just isn’t very good.

  19. Jakkar says:

    You should really mention no-one can run this unless they have the more modern and frustrating OSs.

  20. clive dunn says:

    C’mon folks, lets all go on this weekend and make this game great, because we want it to be great and maybe by sheer willpower alone we can make it great. Or just wander away on Sunday night…………

  21. Monkeybreadman says:

    And the day before i upgrade to win7. Praise be

  22. Davie says:

    Cool, I was just wishing this game had a demo. I’ll definitely try it out. It’ll take my mind off of Ubisoft’s AC2 DRM villainy.

  23. Phried says:

    I was really looking forward to trying this game until I saw it required DX10.
    It’s a shame too, I’ve heard nothing but positive things (from peers).

  24. Dustin Diamond's Sex-Tape says:

    damn those pesky consoles, holding back pc gaming’s glorious march of progress. if every game were pc exclusive every game would like like crysis by n….

    oh. sorry. wrong thread.

    i mean damn these pesky upstart developers, think they can hold my 9 year old os and ati x1900 to ransom? and one gun?? oh my, i may just have to sit down before my britches give way.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, only Crysis was very scalable and was able to run on a pretty large range of specs, only noone ever seemed to realise that.

  25. Dustin Diamond's Sex-Tape says:

    in other bad news for luddites, just cause 2 is to be dx 10 only too.

    link to

    and hot from that most infallible of sources;”the community manager’s twitter account” :

    “Hey! Let’s stress: JC2 on PC is absolutely not a port. PC gamers should expect great things. I’ll have more news on these things very soon.”

    • Rich says:

      You mean like keyboard and mouse support, graphics settings, that kind of thing?

    • Nick says:

      Oh and in the case of that there is zero actual reason for it not to support XP / DX 9. Stop insulting the majority of PC gamers with your luddite crap.

  26. Frumples says:

    I’d love to get into this game, but my computer doesn’t have the super-natural specs required.

  27. Rane2k says:

    Talk about adding insult to injury.
    Yesterday I complain about this not being WinXP compatible, and now they give it away for half the price, with a free weekend to boot. grr.

  28. Subject 706 says:

    Jesus Christ, not to sound condescending or anything, but some people here are really taking the DX10/Vista/Win7 thing a little too far.

    The OS complaints I can understand somewhat, but the DX10 complaints? What games DO you play with GPUs that old? Retro gaming only?

    • Rich says:

      In my case the issue of DX10 and the OS are the same. I have a Radeon HD4670, which supports DX10, although it has only recently replaced a Radeon X850 XT, which doesn’t.

      The thing is, my OS is XP and I physically can’t upgrade to Vista or Win7 because my motherboard is so dilapidated. ASUS no longer make new drivers for the dusty old thing, and since the regular VIA SATA controller packed up, I’m stuck with the now pretty much defunct Promise RAID controllers.

      I wouldn’t say I’m stuck with retro gaming, since HL2: Ep2 runs like a charm. Although Empire: TW does need to be set at around medium quality to play the sea battles acceptably.

    • JuJuCam says:

      @Rich, I don’t think my MOBO is quite as old as yours but yes I’m somewhat limited by mine too. I am however able to run Vista. Still, I feel your pain.

    • Rich says:

      K8V-SE, Socket 754 holding an Athlon 64 3400+ (which is a recent upgrade), 2GB DDR1, AGP holding my HD4670 (possibly the fastest part of my system), Separate VIA SATA (burned out) and IDE controllers, and some weird Promise SATA and IDE RAID controllers that I’ve had to attach my HDDs to, which the sole reason I can’t upgrade to Win7. It’s like the Millennium Falcon the way it’s been cobbled together, except that it certainly is not the fastest ship in the galaxy.

    • Larington says:

      Hmm, I dunno, I can understand the unhappiness over the whole DX10 thing a bit, firstly that this site isn’t targeted at purely the latest high end or triple A games, but rather at the whole broad spectrum of PC gaming from the free, to paid indie to paid AAA commercial spectrum of PC gaming. That means that the site serves just as many XP gamers who like revisiting classics from the past as they do the modern stuff.
      Plus, Vista/Win7 doesn’t really add anything that revolutionary, evolutionary sure (interface improvements, ease of use stuff, under the hood stuff, etc) but nothing that makes the newer OS’ a must have purchase. So not every will feel under that much pressure to upgrade. My main gaming PC which gets less & less use thanks to me doing my uni work on my gaming laptop is still using XP DX9 but my gaming laptop is windows 7. I’ll be giving this free weekend a go, mostly because I’m curious about the gameplay and how they’ve done everything. Should be interesting.

  29. terry says:

    Cool, I’ll just nip out and buy a DX10 graphics card and a new OS to try out this….

  30. AndrewC says:

    This game is nifty! I mean, as far as space porn goes, it’s no Moonraker, but what is?

  31. AndrewC says:

    Just to say I’ve got a dual core and an Nvidia 9800. It runs perfectly smoothly on medium settings and looks nice.

    I mean, you lot are right to say that if they want a big community they should have lowered the minimum specs, but it’s not a horrifying system hog if you’ve got DX10.

  32. westyfield says:

    I can’t find any servers for this game, and neither can a friend of mine who’s also trying the free weekend. Anyone else getting this or know of a solution?

  33. Katsumoto says:

    No problem finding servers here, it’s jam-packed.

    Just had a few games, absolutely loved it! However I will go back to it over the weekend to be sure – I did suspiciously well just now (came third on one map!) whereas i’m normally so shite at MP shooters that I quickly get frustrated. I suspect I was just getting lucky and want to see if it’s still fun when losing horribly.

    For instance, CSS is great even if you’re crap at it. You get shot within seconds and can spend the time waiting for the next round having a beer and chatting to your mates whilst watching people who are actually good at the game “do their thing”.

    • terry says:

      This is why I have never played a full game of CS: S. I run out of beer in twenty mins :-(

  34. MinisterofDOOM says:

    Servers are plentiful and well-populated in my experience. I’m really enjoying this game. I don’t often enjoy multiplayer shooters, but Shattered Horizon nails a sweet spot for me. It has a fast pace and reminds me of the days of yore and Half Life Deathmatch…except with 6DOF. The single gun isn’t really an issue as the gun has a sniper mode as well as full auto mode and nothing else is really needed. I do wish there was a more accurate single-fire non-sniper mode, but that is by no means a dealbreaker. The controls work great, the visuals are fantastic, and my i7 920/GTX 260 machine runs the game smoothly at fully maxed settings. This is a great game to jump online for a quick match, but it’s also one of those games in which I find myself hanging around for game after game once I’m playing.
    The lack of offline tutorial or botmatches is lamentable, but there are plenty of rank-restricted servers that make the initial plunge less shocking.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Tom-INH says:

    As someone I was playing with yesterday replied to a complaint about only having one weapon: “Yeah, but it’s a combination machine gun-sniper rifle-grenade launcher-melee weapon. What else do you need?”

    I was really impressed with it, and my system is far from top of the range (8800GT, fairly low spec dual core processor). I was disappointed when I read about this a few months ago on RPS and was still running XP, but having since upgraded to Windows 7 I’m really glad I gave it a try. For £7.50, I’m happy to give them the cash too, even if I don’t get that much play out of it.

  36. SquareWheel says:

    I’d probably buy it if there was a campaign.

  37. Flameberge says:

    So what did people make of Shattered Horizon on the free weekend?

    I persevered for a couple of hours (I’m sure that by now, due to my lexical choice of “persevered” you can see where this is going). I wasn’t massively impressed to be honest. It was a good idea, I just don’t think the implementation was brilliant. I didn’t really enjoy the gameplay, I especially felt that the assault rifle thingy that everyone has didn’t really feel weighty enough. Surely, as the game is designed to feel like you’re in a vacuum, there should have been a greater effect on your momentum when firing the rifle. I don’t know. It’s difficult to put my finger on it, but the combat just didn’t “feel” right. For an fps, that “feel”, though entirely subjective, is absolutely key for someone to enjoy the game.

    So I played TF2, Killing Floor, Mass Effect 2 and DoWII Last Stand instead. Oh, and Trackmania United.

  38. Lilliput King says:


    I differ from you in that I like it quite a bit, but I definitely know what you mean about the ‘feel’ of an fps. I think it’s to do with feedback. I don’t much care for the feel of TF2 or HL2, and I think it’s mostly because the weapons just feel weak. They don’t sound right, and they have little impact upon a successful hit.

    L4D 1 and 2, on the other hand, are a complete u-turn. The guns feel visceral, sound spot on and have a tangible impact on your targets. It’s not something SH does well, though it makes up for it in CS style but punctuating gunfire with sound affects to give it more punch (i.e., the headshot sound).

    P.S. Firing the rifle with the suit on means you get very little recoil/backwards impulse, because the suit accounts for it with forward thrust. With the suit off, you drift a fair bit while firing.