Elastic Dreams: Starbound’s Grappling Hook

I am in danger of becoming over-excited about Starbound, but it looks so darned charming. If it were a baby, it would have dimples and would giggle at everything, and my girlfriend wouldn’t want to spend anytime with it in case I end up broody. Today’s over-excited squee from me comes from the reveal of the grappling hook technology. It’s a first-look, so there’s a lot that needs tweaked and fixed, but grappling hooks, people! Hooks that grapple! There’s a video of it below, as well as an hour-and-a-half playthrough with the developers.

That is the final piece in the puzzle for me. It had jetpacks, space, and co-op, and now grappling hooks. Now my mind is reeling: can we attach them to other people? Can we have a huge, dangling line of friends, all gripping on to each other in a giggling rope of fun? That has to happen.

The longer video shows the devs kicking off with a fight, and while it’s not a video you should watch if you’re looking for deep chat about the game’s mechanics, there are explanatory moments dotted throughout the PvP antics. It’s good to see the old jump-and-place-a-block-beneath-the-character climbing technique is in there. I feel cheated when games don’t let me do that

Okay, an extra bonus video that I missed in previous round-ups has emerged. Singing tech.


  1. Anthile says:

    Sounds like it would be from the official soundtrack.

    Edit: Found it, link to youtu.be

    • tungstenHead says:

      There’s a songbook menu displayed just before the tune starts. It’s pretty easy to figure it out from there.

      EDIT: Wait. I didn’t click all the videos before responding. I have done this sin. This commenting sin.

      You’re not wrong! Sorry!

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  2. Arkanos says:

    This grappling hook makes me sad. It doesn’t swing right, it doesn’t transfer momentum, and it is all kinds of springy. It is like none of the (very delightful) grappling hooks I’ve seen in other games, not like the best of the best (ninja rope from Worms-anything), nor even the more average grappling-hook based small-games. The only kind of hook it improves on is Terraria’s hook, and then only because that one simply reeled the player in and did nothing else.

    I was excited about it until I saw in in springy bungee-like motion. :(

    • VCepesh says:

      Strange that you say that. You should consider, that it’s not your archaic hemp rope with a metal hook on the end – most likely, it is composed of some kind of smart programmable material, that changes elasticity, hardness, contracts and extends under the effects of electrical current. It may possess any variety of curious physical properties.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      I think you’ve come to a conclusion a little too quick. The video obviously shows that you can control how strong the pull is, which makes me believe this’ll be an extremely flexible grappling hook. It’s not a rope on a hook, but it seems to be a lot more interesting than that.

    • abremms says:

      it said in the dev post, though its not noted here, that that video is from the first pass implementation. it’s not done, still has bugs, and there will be more work done on it. In short, unfinished game is unfinished.

    • WarOnGamesIndustry says:

      You can adjust the springiness by changing a few numbers around. It’s pretty easy to mod.

    • crinkles esq. says:

      I agree. My definition of “perfect grappling hook” is Bionic Commando on the NES. This hook has no sense of momentum to it at all. A grappling hook that doesn’t let you swing is no friend of mine.

    • geldonyetich says:

      I notice that there’s a graphic on the grappling hook lines that are there as visual aids to tell the player how much tension is on the line. So it is, indeed, more than just a hemp rope.

  3. Zmeda says:

    I’m so envious of people who can still get excited for this one. After two years of promises, constant feature-creep and failed deadlines, some might get jaded a bit.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Waiting two years for a game is not that long, taking average development times into account.

    • fish99 says:

      Did they promise a release 2 years ago? If they did fair enough, I haven’t been following development at all, just that I only pre-ordered this a few months ago.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        The pre-order page says “estimated release 2013”

        • povu says:

          They probably got a shit ton more money than they expected through the pre-orders, I’m not surprised they’d rather use it to keep development going for longer.

          I have plenty of games to play to last me until far into 2014, they can take all the time they need and I won’t mind.

        • fish99 says:

          That’s what I’m getting at. The only release date I’ve ever heard was late 2013, so I’m surprised to see someone talking about 2 years of broken promises.

      • Zmeda says:

        The first date was 2012 December (the year the fact that it was in development leaked, they didn’t want to announce it IIRC). Then it was early 2013. Then just 2013. Now it’s beta in 2013, full game whenever.

        Some people got fed up because they raked in 1.88M at this point and their pre-order FAQ page had this until very recently:

        “Starbound is going to make it out in 2013 no matter what. But by preordering you help it get here even faster.”

        They changed it about a week or two ago when people had a flamewar in their forums.

        When you promise your fans that by preordering it, they will get to play with the full game (not just beta) faster, it’s not surprising that some might get a bit miffed when the 3rd deadline is fast approaching and they push it back once more with yet even more promises about the beta for said year (and with their trackrecord with promises, nobody would be surprised if even that got pushed to 2014).

        When you get nearly 2 million dollars, one might expect you could hire a few extra people to work on things. But that might just be me, I obviously don’t have insight into the inner workings of their team.

        Anyways, that’s my rant of the day. :)

        • Monkeh says:

          While I somewhat agree with your rant, I don’t feel cheated at all, mostly because they’re constantly updating their website, showing us what they’ve been working on. And all the stuff they show looks pretty fantastic!

    • Grey Poupon says:

      I’m more excited about Darkout than this for its atmosphere and graphics. Haven’t played either though, so I obviously wouldn’t know which one’s the better game.

  4. Caveat53 says:

    The singing needs to go, I’m sure the sound guy can find something else to work on or tidy up.

    • Skyfall says:

      Who pissed in your cheerios this morning?

      I’ll admit I’m turned off a bit by the timbre of the voices in the singing engine, but I’m amused by the effort nonetheless. If you’re not a fan, there’s no need to be condescending about it.

    • mechabuddha says:

      The devs work on the “practical” things during the week. On the weekends, on their time off, they play around with weird stuff. The singing came out of that weekend work.

    • geldonyetich says:

      Honestly, I’m inclined to agree.

      Sure, it’s a cute feature, we could have some fun with it, and so there’s no need to remove what they’ve already got. But, if I wanted to turn my computer into a musical instrument, I’m sure I can find a better alternative than Starbound trying to be one. I’ve already seen this feature in games such as Mabinogi or Asheron’s Call 2, and it was okay as a side activity, but ultimately just a diversion from a diversion.

      I’m really more interested in this whole interplanetary exploration and RPG angle. I’d like the focus to be there and, to these ends, this is going to constitute a focus on the rpg mechanic, weapons, crafting, enemies, environments, and so on.

      I am encouraged to see they’ve been working on giving the sentient NPCs some added depth. That’s an important part of creating a compelling open-ended RPG.

  5. Chillz says:

    A bit Terraria-ish, looks cute tho.

  6. JasonD says:

    Patiently waiting for Starbound as well. I agree, and I think they decided to put the money into the game to make it better. I also agree that while waiting, there are other Space Sandbox games out there. One I’ve been playing is ‘Asteria’ and I’d really like to see RPS do a bit on it to get their thoughts. (playasteria.com)