Edit: added info on the game’s ‘free to play’ model below.
This morning I received an email telling me that the first playable build of StarForge was available. It’s a free first-person game of blocks and building inspired by the usual suspects, Minecraft and Terraria…and Warcraft 3, Borderlands and Halo. Something a little different to what I expected then, so I figured I’d at least watch the video that came with the press pack. Six and a half minutes later I was wondering how to put my excitement into words. Thirty seconds after that I decided to forget words and just share the bloody video. Watch.
I kind of wish they hadn’t put the defense stuff right at the beginning, or at least not so much of it, because it’s the procedural 3D tilesets, procedurally generated loot, building into space and movement physics that I reckon should be leading the charge. If there was too much of the turrets and the shooting for you and you drifted away, go back and watch again. You might end up having your lower jaw riveted back into place by the end.
I kept wondering how two men who had built something so impressive could describe it so calmly. I’d be whooping and hollering all the way through my own presentation. I sometimes whoop and holler when I manage to make toast successfully though so don’t read too much into that.
The other thought that rose again and again during the video was “where’s the catch?” Some of the physics are slightly wonky – slightly wonky physics! In a first release of a game this ambitious that can not only be forgiven, it’s compelling evidence that the whole thing isn’t an elaborate practical joke and that the developers aren’t robots from the future. So what’s the catch then?
This is the catch. Despite the first playable release being out there right now, I haven’t actually been able to play it yet. I blame Notch. The Minecraft maestro appears to have found out about the game before I managed to download it and he only went and informed eleventy seven billion of his Twitter followers to go and take a look, they overwhelmed the servers, and I haven’t been able to so much as visit the website.
I did make some toast earlier though. Go me! Small triumphs, that’s what great lives are built on I tell myself, small triumphs.
HexagonalBolts points out in the comments that there’s more information from the developers on the ‘free to play’ model that the game will be using:
All future builds along with multiplayer and singleplayer will be free. It’s F2P but not Pay2Win, we’re against that kind of stuff as we are huge gamers too.
We are selling Hatch Points so that players can purchase heroes with different playstyles, skins, 3D Tilesets, and cool stuff like a golf course pack where you can make your own golf course complete with greens, sand traps, and pick up some clubs and play. However, all of the paid stuff can be earned in game through enough play for free.