Building Spaceships Like I’m Seven Again: Reassembly

My love of video games partly comes down to not owning enough Lego when I was younger to build spaceships to fight each other. Thankfully, digital Lego is plentiful and cheap. Reassembly has lots and lots, letting you use a variety of pre-constructed spaceship sections to build ever-increasing sizes of ship and destroy others, harvesting their pieces for yourself. It’s a cool concept, a bit like an expanded Captain Forever, and its blueprint-y look particularly caught my eye. Creator Arthur Danskin is looking for $28k (~£17k) on Kickstarter to finish the game up.

The animation really matches the style. Whatever algorithm is driving the way ships break up is excellent, impacts from weapons fire look like they mean something. Hopefully the huge 500+ ship battles mentioned are actually plausible in the engine without everything grinding the a halt. It’d be great to be able to build myself up from a single small fighter to a fleet of capital ships in a quick, easy to understand game like this. Players can upload their ships and download others’, and a tournament mode will let you pitch your designs against theirs.

The game is in closed alpha testing now, but no build’s available for potential pledgers to play. If you fancy it anyway, pledging $12 (£7.40) will get you a copy when it enters Early Access, slated for November. The full version is expected in February. Whoops. For the Early Access version you’ll need to drop $30(£18.46). The cheaper version only gets you the full release.

26 Comments

  1. Cinek says:

    This game is a copycat of Battleships Forever.
    Only more expensive. And incomplete. And without all the mods.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Did BattleShips Forever allow hull customisation? I thought it was hardpoint only?

      • Cinek says:

        Yes it does. Just do a google images search on Battleships Forever. The variety of designs is astounding.

        • peterako1989 says:

          I wouldn’t rush to compare it with battleships forever. That is an RTS while this looks like a shooter. Also battleships forever doesn’t feature ships customization in the main game. It has an editor that is not however part of the main campaing.

          • Cinek says:

            Ships customization is a main portion of the game, you just start the editor from separate exe file instead of the main menu. You’re trying to make more of a problem from it than it is. Whatever one is a shooter and another isn’t is very debatable – both games are on the edge between strategy and action games. If you play with one ship in BF – it’s (as you call it) “shooter” – if you play it with multiple ships, it’s closer to a tactical game.
            None of them is an RTS.

          • Camo5 says:

            Reassembly and Battleships forever are not the same game, nor is gamma void a rip-off of BSF. Being one of the alpha testers for Reassembly, I know that Arthur had no prior knowledge of that game until it was brought up in one of our discussions of where the game planned to go. In any case, BSF is a more tactically oriented game, where the user has indirect control over multiple ships, whereas in reassembly, the player has complete control of one specific ships, while also being able to spawn allies that follow the player through ai control, which is literally what is being worked on right now (ai behavior). I will say that BSF has a more coder-friendly interface, and the build / destruction engines are very similar where each individual part gets its own hitbox and health.

            I must point out that, the reason reassembly is called such, is that when a ship loses parts, it can fly out of enemy weapon range to repair itself.

            There is another similar game, bossconstructor, which has the same modular shipbuilding capabilities, but follows the no-repair scheme of BSF; bossconstructor is a more or less simulation / evolution type game, where the player can directly control a ship and do survival missions or just fly and kill quests. The feature in this game is you can run a simulation with identical ships, and as those ships fight in an ai controlled arena, the losing ships will evolve random parts until they are no longer losing ships, so you can have self-evolving ships in a nearly unlimited number of scenarios.

            But honestly, these are three very distinct games. Do not blaspheme a new game you haven’t played by saying it is a copy of something else, unless it obviously is, such as an exactly similar game with different sprites, which these games are not.

    • Eagle0600 says:

      Never heard of it, but I looked it up, and it doesn’t appear to have ship construction at all. They look kind of similar, sort of, but I don’t think they’re otherwise the same.

      • Cinek says:

        Look again. Ship construction is the core of BF.

        • frymaster says:

          Despite the condescending tone, I went and looked, and got promotional material telling me about how many (named) hulls the game had. This implies, to be, that you can’t design your own ships in the game. Can you please link me to exactly where I should look for this?

          • peterako1989 says:

            It has an editor that unfortunately is not part of the gameplay. It is a seperate software(that is in the game files)

          • Cinek says:

            Yep. You load these ships from the editor and… well… battle with them ;)
            Just download the game – unlike that copycat – Battleships Forever is free :)

    • phelix says:

      First thing I thought as well.
      On that note, I really need to play BSF again.

    • Kasper says:

      The aesthetics of Reassembly are infinitely more charming and gorgeous.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        I so want to disagree with you just because Battleships Forever is one of those games I clutch protectively to my chest, hissing when anyone says a bad word about it. But all I can actually say this time is that both games have utterly wonderful art styles in surprisingly different ways.

      • Cinek says:

        They’re so similar that it’s really hard to tell. Copycat got a flashy trailer with explosions. Battleships forever doesn’t because it’s a FREE GAME ready to play out there RIGHT NOW not asking you for any cash while at the same time offering nearly identical gameplay.

        • Kasper says:

          I’m not commenting on the gameplay, as I haven’t played either of them. But from watching a few videos, the aesthetics of Reassembly seems much more appealing and…soulful? I really love the Polygons & Particles approach of the visuals, with the soundtrack providing the “texture”.

          Gameplay isn’t everything. FTL wouldn’t be the same game experience without the gorgeous soundtrack, for example.

        • Deceleration says:

          It’s interesting that you claim BSF and Reassembly have “nearly identical gameplay” when you obviously haven’t played Reassembly. As an alpha tester, I have played the game. I’ve also played BSF previously, and I can tell you that gameplay is quite different.

          For one, BSF is incomplete. Its UI is pretty rough and the gameplay feels pretty different. BSF is also more of a strategy game, since you usually control multiple ships, and the way you control them feels more like a fleet commander rather than a pilot. The ship customization part is a separate program because it was an add-on to the original game, which explains why the ship maker is not very user-friendly. Granted, it gives you a lot of freedom, with almost no restrictions on placing parts, allowing you to edit stats and even use your own sprites. It’s not very useful however if the only thing you can do with ships you make in the shipmaker are spawn them into the sandbox.

          Reassembly, on the other hand, has a much more polished interface. The incomplete parts of it are less major features and more of the small things, like how the AI behaves under very specific circumstances. You also control one ship at a time, directly, and this ship can be customized within the game. The customization is limited to placement and choice of hull parts, weapons, and thrusters (something BSF lacked, by the way) but this limitation is important because it keeps the game balanced and enjoyable. Also, the world of Reassembly is dynamic- AI ships and fleets all do their own thing, unlike BSF where they sit there until they find something to shoot, or they spawn in and automatically start moving towards you. Also, BSF was based on distinct levels- you played a level, beat it, moved on to the next. In Reassembly, each world you make, you keep it for as long as you want, killing things and building yourself up as much as you want.

          So yeah, gameplay is hardly identical. Whether the difference is worth 12 dollars is up to everyone to decide for themselves.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      And a little bit like a 2d Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (the most underrated game ever).

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      Phasma Felis says:

      My first thought on seeing the picture was, “Hey, this looks like Battleships Forever! Awesome! We need more games like that!”

      There’s probably some sort of eloquent comparison I could draw there if I wasn’t so tired, but what I’m trying to say is “more of an awesome thing is awesome, and I’m sick of people crying ripoff any time something resembles something they like.”

  2. TazzAtNL says:

    The beta access in November 2014 will require a 30 dollar pledge. The February 2015 release will cost you 12 dollar at the moment.

  3. frogmanalien says:

    The screenshot instantly reminded me of how excited I am about Heat Signature – link to pentadact.com – and how I need to play Captain Forever again. There goes my day.

  4. xfstef says:

    “Hopefully the huge 500+ ship battles…” just go to minute 2 in the video and watch how a mere 100 or even less amount of ships makes the FPS visibly drop and the game jittery.

    I’m not saying that it can’t be done, I’m just saying that they haven’t done it yet and thus I question their ability to optimize the game for such huge amounts of ships.

    • Talon_T says:

      Optimization usually comes near the end of a project after all the features are implemented. The graphics are simple enough that I’d imagine most or all of the heavy load would be through the AI, physics and such. Hopefully they can get it running smooth with a huge amount of ships.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    I tried making something that was a bit like this when I was at uni, but gave up pretty much due to my own monumental laziness.

  6. optimus_hippo says:

    This looks awesome! Backed!