Living Dead Galaxy: Space Pirates And Zombies 2

Ignore the acronym if you possibly can because we shouldn’t dwell on an irritating title when there’s so much else to discuss. Space Pirates and Zombies 2 looks like it might be an absolute corker, an heir to the sensational Space Rangers 2, built around a living galaxy that exists and develops no matter what the player might be doing elsewhere. Read this and salivate:

Two hundred persistent Captains that are able to do everything the player can, including forming dynamic factions, building structures, controlling territory, and going to War.

If Minmax pull that off, Space Pirates and Zombies 2 might be an unexpected and unlikely true single player alternative to Elite: Dangerous. Space wars! There’s much more, including a trailer and details about randomised ship parts below.

I’ll just quote the most exciting parts here:

A true living galaxy that is not player centric. It will develop differently each game through the interactions of the agents.

Time based galactic story events that happen whether the player is ready or not. These events add new threats and tools to deal with them. The Galaxy will need to find a new natural equilibrium each time a new disaster is unleashed.

Randomly generated modular parts. Build the mothership that suits your play style, on the fly, in seconds. Every part has its own unique stats that contribute to the mothership. Every part has its own hull integrity and damage states. Every part is a real, working, ship component.

Strategic ship building. The mass, location and shape of parts all matter. If a part blocks a turret, it will not fire. If a ship is too long, it will turn slowly. Too many engines will mean too little power for weapons. Every design choice counts.

A fully physics based 3d environment where everything is destructible, takes damage from impacts, can be grabbed and even thrown at enemies with the tractor beam.

Those words? That’s essentially the print from the choir sheet I like to sing from. I love the idea of the galaxy attempting to return to equilibrium as zombies flood across it like a virus infecting its host, or whatever other disasters are in store. It’s not just that the idea of AI pushing and pulling at systems is a great thing to live in the middle of, it’s that the effort to return to a state of equilibrium sounds believable. A thing that these dynamic agents will be able to achieve rather than an impossible claim.

Plugging ships together like Lego is appealing as well. It should be out early next year.

43 Comments

  1. frymaster says:

    My personal concerns:

    “Time based galactic story events that happen whether the player is ready or not”

    I hate being chivvied forward in a sandbox game. I take a careful (my friends would say, downright pedantic) approach in games when I can.

    I also hope real-life consequences for ship design don’t end up meaning your ship is unoptimal unless it’s a boring sphere or something

    That’s being said, I am very much looking forward to this, and looking forward to a nice WIT :)

    • GiantPotato says:

      Agreed, I would say picking your own pace is one of the best features of a sandbox-style game. What would be really great is if they create whatever kind of world they want, then put a slider somewhere that controls the speed of the game world.

      • Tacroy says:

        To be fair, the original game wasn’t really much of a sandbox either.

        • GiantPotato says:

          True, SPAZ was never really a sandbox game. I’m thinking more of Drox Operative here, because a lot of Minmax’s blurbs for SPAZ2 seem to have a lot in common with Drox.

    • Baines says:

      I tend to hate such time limits myself.

      On the other hand, something needs to be done. In the first game, the universe waited while you did whatever you wanted. The problem was that even with a small map, there just wasn’t enough variation in areas and missions. What was fun the first few times gets boring by the 20th or 30th time. If you try to rush things and lose, then you get penalized with a boring but no danger resource grind to recover your stocks (or just reload a previous save if you want to save scum your way through.) So you end up in a slow repetitive task of grinding for resources and the randomly distributed blueprints that you want.

      And then you trigger the latter part of the game, the fight directly against the zombies. And by gods that is boring.

      The sequel really needs something to punch it up, because the first game is paced slow enough that it wears out its welcome well before first completion, and becomes a slog at the end. I’m not saying that it needs to become Drox Operative, because Drox can be overwhelming enough to scare off players (at least before players realize that they are expected to do only a fraction of available tasks), but it needs something…

    • Bereil says:

      If the plot is “space zombies are conquering the galaxy!” I think it’ll be alright. Because of the reasons Baines mentioned: the first game had a static galaxy, could get grindy, and fighting zombies was arrgh.

    • gwathdring says:

      Huh. I like a sense of time pressure for certain kinds of things. I like feeling like the world happens whether I’m ready for it or not. Makes it feel more alive.

  2. Kitsunin says:

    Irritating title…are hyperactive people bothersome?

    • Luke Nukem says:

      My understanding was that “spaz” was short for “spastic”, the previously used term for those with cerebral palsy, and as such is definitely not a nice insult/word to use.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Oh, fuck, right, I had heard that before. That’s why British tweens seem to think it’s a cool insult to use.

        Hmm. Well, Minmax is Canadian it seems, so they probably use the word from the American perspective, probably meaning prone to spasms, colloquialized to include people who are easily startled or hyper. Judging by the root, the American form probably also originates from the disease, not really making it better.

      • Axess Denyd says:

        For what it’s worth, the word “spaz” isn’t really terribly offensive in America at all.

        Makes me wonder if the devs are from here and they never heard about the negative connotation in Britain until it was too late to change the name of the game. I certainly never knew it was an offensive term there until I learned it from RPS commenters.

        Edit: Ah, they’re Canadian. As far as I know it isn’t offensive there either.

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        Aerothorn says:

        I came to write the same thing as Axes – “spaz” is just a dorky word in the USA with no connection to any actual disability, and “spastic” is much the same but even more ananchronistic.

        The only reason I know about this cultural divide is that Weird Al used “spastic” in a song on his most recent album, and got flack from his British audience – and of course he had no idea it was offensive there and was very apologetic.

        • AngoraFish says:

          Just because people don’t realise that a term is offensive doesn’t make it any less offensive. Millions of youths use homophobic slurs every day without understanding the context, or intentionally meaning to insult gays, which doesn’t make that acceptable either.

          Virtually every dictionary clearly identifies that “spaz” is a casual shortening of the medical term “spastic” for uncontrollable body movements, including American ones. In America, the term is clearly used to mean one who lacks coordination, the same as in the British context. One therefore can’t hide in some obscure alternative derivation. The fact that parts of the US and Canada aren’t self aware enough to appreciate that the term spaz is an inherent slur on a disability is neither here nor there.

          On the other hand, as an Australian, I really don’t understand all the fuss that Americans and Canadians keep making about my own little upcoming game: “Night in Goblin Green: Extreme Realms”.

          • Malarious says:

            Oh, boo-hoo. Should we refrain from using the words “idiot,” “moron,” and “imbecile” too? People already take issue with “retarded”. Language is a fluid thing. No one I know personally would ever use “spaz” to refer to an actual handicapped person, even if that may have originally been the definition, it’s shifted significantly since then, and unlike other “slurs” the original meaning simply isn’t recognized at all.

            But what do I know, I’m just a cisgendered heterosexual white male shitlord.

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            Phasma Felis says:

            …And it looks like the filter ate my nice reasonable response, while leaving Malarious’ super douchey response. Good job, filter! Let’s try again with egregious censorship asterisks.

            You seem to think that Americans are all just snickeringly pretending not to know what “s***” means because we’re insensitive jerks. The thing is, it really isn’t a slur in American English. It’s only barely an insult. I don’t mean “my mates think it’s okay,” I don’t mean “well, I don’t mean it that way.” I mean that any teacher in the nation could call a seven-year-old boy a “s***” to his overprotective parents and no one would bat an eye. I doubt that one person in 50 knows that it derives from “s*****c,” because most people don’t learn their vocabulary from the dictionary. I only know about it because I read RPS. For that matter, “s*****c” itself never caught on outside of medical terminology here; IIRC, its playground popularity in Britain stems entirely from a tragically misguided episode of Blue Peter, and we don’t get Blue Peter in the States.

            It goes both ways. We think it’s hilarious when you guys call a cigarette a “f**,” and we frown when you use “c***” as punctuation instead of as the worst thing it’s possible to say to a woman. That doesn’t meant that we’re all uptight prudes, or that you’re all insensitive jerks. There isn’t a “right” dialect and a “wrong” one. Hell, on both sides of the Atlantic, “idiot” and “moron” were once medical terms for mental disability. Meanings are not carved in stone.

            Minmax dropped the ball here, granted; someone should have clued them in before they took their game international. But it’s not as simple as you think.

          • Llewyn says:

            …and we frown when you use “c***” as punctuation instead of as the worst thing it’s possible to say to a woman.

            We do? Have I missed another memo?

          • AngoraFish says:

            @ Llewyn I think he might be confusing the “c” word and “period”.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Yeah, to put it in perspective: In America, parents will say something like “watch out, my kid is a total spaz”.

            There is literally no negative connotation to it; for a while, it was used to mean the same as “nerd” or “dork” and that’s as bad as it ever got.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Another American here to chime in saying very few here takes “spaz” seriously as a pejorative. Regardless, I find it odd that people take words so seriously on a site where most of the content featured involves moral actions of much more questionable merit.

            It is like getting all huffy that I didn’t use sir when addressing you after a slept with your wife. If their is an ethical problem with SPAZ it is almost certainly all the casual murder for pretty light pretenses.

          • AngoraFish says:

            I find it odd that people take words so seriously on a site where most of the content featured involves moral actions of much more questionable merit.

            Murder, of itself, doesn’t make a particular group in the population feel smaller, or more outside of the “norm”, simply because of a personal characteristic about which they have no control. One might quibble separately with the ethics of murder as a mechanism in a game, but that straw-man is irrelevant to this particular topic.

            Another American here to chime in saying very few here takes “spaz” seriously as a pejorative.

            Again, it’s irrelevant if many people in the US are using the term without understanding its prejorative context. The term is inherently exclusionary to people with a disability regardless of intent. The fact that a writer doesn’t understand or appreciate that offense is being caused is actually the main problem.

            “Spaz” is no different from words like “redskin” or “negro”, or casual throwaways such as “he’s so gay” or “he fights like a girl”, or games with boob armor and/or that lack of female characters, all of which are quite commonly not deliberately malicious.

            The fact that a writer (or game designer) has no malicious intent doesn’t change the fact that if you happen to like living in a world where people feel included and valued regardless of physical charisterics such as gender, sexuality, disability, or skin colour, then using exclusionary terminology such as spaz and gay is counter-productive to that goal.

          • MaXimillion says:

            “The term is inherently exclusionary”

            No, it isn’t. Apart for onomatopoeia, words are not inherently anything. If you’re getting offended by a word that is offensive in your culture but not in the user’s, the “fault” is as much with you not understanding their culture as it is with them not understanding yours.

          • Emeraude says:

            The problem with the American/English is that they don’t have a word for “spaz”.

            And all that jazz.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Again, it’s irrelevant if many people in the US are using the term without understanding its prejorative context.

            There’s a big difference between all of the examples you’ve given and “spaz” and that difference is that in America, there is no pejorative context. The advent of the internet is the only reason its use by Americans has even come under fire, because the sounds “s-pa-z” together have absolutely nothing to do with cerebral palsy in America.

            Or are you suggesting that it’s wrong to say “fanny” too? Because here it means butt but elsewhere it’s pejorative? It’s just a silly argument, though I’d agree that one should avoid making such mistakes if they can, and they are releasing a statement/product internationally.

          • gwathdring says:

            I agree that ignorance is a not a sufficient condition for clemency. I have nothing against the concept of political correctness, either.

            However, you also have to bear in mind that words that share the same spelling are not necessarily the same word in different parts of the world. It is entirely possible for someone to spend their entire life in America without ever speaking to a British person; it is utterly unreasonable to hold Americans to the standards of British political correctness when we do not speak British English.

            Put bluntly, you’re trying to stuff British culture down the throats of other people who do not share it, accusing them of violating sensitivities that do not apply in their host language. Or at least, your posts do that with their mannerism.

            THAT said (and I’m still annoyed at you, Angorafish) people who say the word doesn’t have that connotation in the US are incorrect. I believe it may well have had that connotation in the US much earlier than in Britain but I can’t source it’s British origins. In the US it comes from derogatory teen slang circa 1960 in reference to people with spastic paralysis, or spastic cerebral palsy.

            THAT said, there is an additional issue here and that is that words are a collection of letters. It is the meanings we should be careful of. By many in the US, spaz is not used in a derogatory context and there is no rich history of cultural appropriation or oppression tied to the word. Do remember, if neither speaker nor listener are sensitive to the word’s usage, then the word’s usage is not carrying undue potency.

            Since leaving the playground I have only heard the term used among friends to refer to clumsiness or hyperactivity. It has quite a different sense here from a word like “retard” which is still utterly in communication with it’s origins as a derogatory term for people with mental ailments and disabilities.

            There are quite possibly individuals for whom and circles wherein the same could be said of “spaz” in the US. I’m open to that, but understand that usages vary immensely by region and that words can change over time. This is quite a different word from many of your examples.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            You are a very silly person if you honestly believe using a slightly (in the US) derogatory term in a game title abbreviation (not even in the actual title), is somehow morally more actionable than the fact the game features a lot of casual murder.

            This is what makes you social justice warriors so unrelatable. You are 21st century Puritans. “Oh we cannot let the kiddies see boobies in movies they might get the wrong idea, but its fine if they watch someone get eviscerated because they are annoying, in fact that is funny!”

            It is pretentious and pointless crusading in search of a cause. The nearly sole purpose is to make the crusader feel morally superior to others for making moral decisions that are not actually important or difficult. I mean you are angry about what exactly. How many people in the world have been harmed by the title? Probably zero? Isn’t the likely answer zero?

            Have a pleasant holiday season Mr. Mather.

          • AngoraFish says:

            words that share the same spelling are not necessarily the same word in different parts of the world

            Yes, but we’re not talking about homographs here. The only significant difference between US and UK usage is that there is, for whatever reason, a heightened sensitivity around the term in the UK. (More proactive disability rights advocates?) In both countries, both the dictionary definition and derivation are for all practical purposes the same.

            20 years ago, playground usage of spaz in the UK wasn’t necessarily perceived to have the same loaded connotations either. As far as I can recall, it was just thrown around lightly to refer to people who were uncoordinated. It was never used as a casual insult like “dickhead” or “gay” is used today.

            The term “American Indian” wasn’t seen as having negative connotations in the US either until a couple of decades ago. All that has changed is increased awareness.

            You are a very silly person if you honestly believe using a slightly (in the US) derogatory term … is somehow morally more actionable than the fact the game features a lot of casual murder.

            I’m going to hazard a guess here that Mr Northey doesn’t actually have a problem with games that feature a lot of casual murder. Not that anyone’s actually arguing the views that Mr Northey continues to insist on attributing to them.

          • Premium User Badge

            Phasma Felis says:

            “Spaz” is no different from words like “redskin” or “negro”

            Try telling a Spanish chef that it’s offensive to serve black beans (“frijoles negros”).

            You cannot unilaterally impose one language’s standards of offensiveness on another. Words are not inherently offensive; they become offensive when they are consistently used offensively. It’s not the same as “that’s so gay,” because no US teenager is actually ignorant of the slur there, even if they don’t intend it. No one in the US has ever used “spaz” as a slur, so it never became one. Actual cerebral palsy victims in the US are not aware that they’re supposed to be offended, and there’s no need for you to get offended on their behalf.

            Unlike others in this thread, I am not saying that Brits are wrong to object to the word, because in Britain it clearly is offensive, by use and history. But you’re doing no one any favors by demanding that Spaniards change the names of their beans.

          • gwathdring says:

            “The term “American Indian” wasn’t seen as having negative connotations in the US either until a couple of decades ago. All that has changed is increased awareness.”

            See, that inspires me to see it as posing very little threat to quality treatment of folks with disabilities.

            One should always, always, always respect the specific tolerances of the people around them. But I do think there are different standards for something being acceptable in the general sphere and something being acceptable despite specific localized protest.

            I’m mostly interested in how harmful something is. I believe firmly in the idea that hurting people’s feelings is a valid form of harm and I don’t believe in consequence free speech. But when neither the common context of the user nor the common context of the usage are in communication with the harmful context(s) of the word … it does not seem sensible to call the common context of the word unacceptable. Language changes over time and a great many things that might have had more vile connotations have been reclaimed or have simply evolved over time into novel niches that are not harmful or vile.

            I think, even if you disagree about the math on this particular word, that this is a reasonable qualitative formalism for determining acceptable usage.

            Though, again, it always puts one on shaky ground when one puts their right to use a particular word over a reasonable request from someone they are directly interacting with who is personally made uncomfortable by it.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            “I’m going to hazard a guess here that Mr Northey doesn’t actually have a problem with games that feature a lot of casual murder. Not that anyone’s actually arguing the views that Mr Northey continues to insist on attributing to them.”

            It is not about what I find objectionable, it is about your ridiculous posturing. What are you 20 years old? Grow up develop some self esteem and self worth that doesn’t revolve around sticking up for causes that need no white knights. You certainly seem to be a lot more bothered by the name, than the killing that occurs in the game. I personally find the killing much more bothersome (but still not really bothersome at all or even worth mentioning other than to highlight your hypocrisy).

            And I do find casual murder pretty objectionable, to the extent that I never played things like grand theft auto or other things in that genre and kind of look at the fans of those games askance. Anyway, lets just agree to disagree.

  3. Razumen says:

    I disliked the bounty hunters in the first one, it just seemed like it punished you for being too good at the game, and usually resulted with getting my ass kicked by a much superior foe. Maybe I was playing it wrong, and I didn’t necessarily finish the game, but it seems rather off-putting.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Maybe you started getting their attention a bit too early? I remember mostly finding them a great way to pick up some exotic new ships.

  4. Simon_Scott says:

    I suspect Limit Theory will be the single-player Elite replacement, but this does look fun.

  5. Tom De Roeck says:

    One of the few space trader and flying games I actually finished. Looking forward to the second one!

  6. Kempston Wiggler says:

    I found the original fun for a while but it degenerated into a dull grind before anything interesting was allowed to happen. As such I’m not confident this will be an improvement but I’ll keep an eye on it anyway for optimism’s sake.

  7. Shardz says:

    This is what Elite Dangerous should look like. Pretty cool stuff!

  8. sektor666 says:

    ‘heir to space rangers 2’? let’s… not get ahead of ourselves.

  9. malkav11 says:

    I really would rather not move to fully physicsed 3D, actually. Top-down 2D like in the first game was lovely and too few people are doing it.

    • Baines says:

      It still is top down 2D, isn’t it? Just that they added a different camera view to better show off the graphics and such.

      While the combat gameplay shown in the videos is largely from the new camera angle, there are short bits of action shown from the top-down camera.

  10. childofthekorn says:

    I do not feel bad for supporting the first at all after seeing this. Gawd Dawm thats a hell of a sequel.

  11. knowitall011 says:

    I honestly did not like the first one. it had the biggest flaw of all rpg games like it. you unlock the best stuff 30 minutes before you finish the game.

    this 2nd one seems to be very very nice and fixes that flaw!

  12. socrate says:

    loved and still love the first one here is hoping they can make another one as fun as the first one