Starbound Gets Most Important Update: Spaceship Pets

The Gera School of Game Development has one simple tenet: When in doubt, just add dogs. Our alumni is extensive, and includes but is not limited to a game with an Alsatian in it and Fable 2. Now being added to this list is the glorious two-dimensional Terraform-em-up Starbound [official site] which lets users have pets on board their personal space ships as of this week’s patch.

Pets are actually old news in Starbound. You’ve been able to capture animals for a while now, enslaving galactic dogs and cats across space and time while all together forging a deep and unforgettable friendship.

But this latest patch lets you have spaceship-specific pets: A non-combat Space roommate whose design and colour will generate based on your character’s chosen race. They’ve programmed in some interesting character traits for these guys too. Pets will investigate items that you hold on your ship. You can feed them too, and likewise these pets can develop preferences for certain foods.

So natural you can buy a load of junk for them too, letting them jettison slowly through the vacuum Space in luxury normally only afforded by teenage heiresses. You can buy pet houses, pet balls to be played with (lol) and food bowls, all of which can be found in Starbound’s in-game store.

You can check out the full patch notes for this latest Stable Update right here.


  1. OmNomNom says:

    I’ve been waiting for this game to be a fun successor for years now but it disappoints at every turn because of the glacially slow development pace, the small number of developers and their tendency to often to get distracted by ‘fluff’ features such as these which could easily be added AFTER the rest of the game is balanced and fun.

    These guys could really do with a Project Manager.

    • Scelous says:

      It really pains me to say this, because I’ve always rooted for Starbound, but…. you’re right.

      They just keep on pushing out more and more cutsey little features — pets and bugs in a jar — while the actual gameplay elements are put off to the side.

      • SgtStens says:

        Yeah, I agree that the development pace and priorities are kind of out of whack, but especially since the update before this one (I think it came out right around the new year) really fleshed things out, added a significant quest line as well as tons of items, locations, and recipes. For what I paid for it over, I’ve got my money’s worth. I’ve probably played forty-plus hours in the year since I bought it and enjoyed myself immensely.

        • Harlander says:

          Yeah, the progression stuff has been added to a fair bit, and there’s some intimations of more interesting boss quest design and so on. It feels like it’s inching towards something that’ll be pretty fun eventually (though at the current rate that’ll probably be in the 2020s…)

          At the moment it still doesn’t really hang together all that well, feeling less than the sum of its parts.

      • supernorn says:

        Hello there, there’s actually A LOT of content in this patch that is not pet specific! the full patch notes include a bunch of game changing features, such as remote teleporters.

    • slerbal says:

      Spot on. They *definitely* needed an actual project manager, but even if they got one now it would be too late for me. I loved Starbound when I first got it and then it just fizzled out.

      I went back to play it recently with my wife and within ten minutes we both realised we were terribly bored and we looked at each other, quit, and uninstalled. I moved the game to my “Done with this” category on Steam.

    • Geewhizbatman says:

      I don’t know. I mean, I felt that way before the big update dump they did but at the moment I don’t quite understand where all the frustration over the game comes from. The only thing I have to compare it to is Terraria and I find it much more enjoyable than that. I don’t find myself randomly attacked by burrowing beasts and I don’t feel like I need to develop intricate sky structures in order to get past the boss content. Then it’s just a nice little exploration game with the nicest feature being that you don’t have to load out of the current game to generate a new world every time you want something new to explore. Which, for me–is kind of the biggest bonus it has over Terraria.

      So, of course it’s just one of those things but I still haven’t quite figured out what the issue with the game is that I see people underwhelmed by. Again, all I have to compare it to is Terraria and in that regard it’s a perfectly enjoyable game that is still getting content dumps and tweaks.

      The one thing I can think of is that I’m the kind of player that is “synced” with the content updates. Both games require into the tens to hundreds of hours to fully explore their worlds and systems (i.e.–hollow out a planet, craft every item, find every biome, etc) which I’ve never done. Which means I find it easy to get excited about their newer content when it isn’t like I fully exhausted their previous builds. If I had already explored every place and item then I’d probably be underwhelmed by the updates, but then again I feel like I’d have been satisfied with the amount of time it takes to do that.

      • SalaciousJames says:

        I don’t get it much, either. It seems like the vast majority of folks on the actual developer’s forum are really enjoying it. I regularly read the updates on their blog, and their development choices make a lot of sense to me in terms of the big picture, which got much bigger thanks to Starbound being one of the most successful Early Access games to date. I think when they realized they had the resources to sustain it, their ambitions for the game got much larger and they’re carefully fine-tuning an already fun game into an even more comprehensive vision.

        I’ve gotten 60 hours out of it since the update earlier this year, and I still find it incredibly compelling and addictive. Oh, and why does nobody mention the excellent soundtrack? I don’t think I’ve played something that was this curiously pleasurable to play since Animal Crossing.

  2. OmNomNom says:

    * fun successor to Terraria


    • Kestrel says:

      Comment system works just find for me

      • Kestrel says:


        • Jalan says:

          I think the issue was with the fact that the ability to edit posts has been abolished for quite some time now.

          I was going to remark on how we’re not savages and could appreciate the use of it once more but I don’t know the specifics behind its removal – though I’d venture to say that some people likely abused it to try and weasel in and out of arguments they might’ve been losing/etc. – so it’s possible that we just don’t deserve the luxury anymore.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Word is it was a boring old performance problem rather than anything DRAMATIC.

          • pepperfez says:

            Well of course we never deserved it. All we’ve ever deserved is a stern talking-to and to be sent to bed without dinner, but RPS keeps giving us nice things anyway.

          • Jalan says:

            LionsPhil – Thanks for that. Typically (drawing on past experiences where things like this have happened) I just tend to go with the “someone was using it to be a dick” scenario which then forced admins/etc. to step in and take away one avenue for said someone(s) to continue to be dicks.

            That you point it out, it makes sense given all the weirdness edits tended to cause (I remember one of my own comments getting caught in the moderation filter after I went overboard on the edits of it – likely unrelated to any performance hitches and otherwise intentional given all the bot trash comments).

          • OmNomNom says:

            Yes sorry for the rage. The site is a bit dated and broken in places like the commenting system but I suppose it’s fair if you don’t have a web dev in house and your revenue stream doesn’t stretch but they could always just whack in an off the shelf commenting system like Disqus which really wouldn’t be a large job and would be far more flexible. The whole WordPress reply notification bullshit is really horrible too. So many clicks.

    • cptgone says:

      you misspelled “DOG”. and ms. Gera misspelled “cats” in the first sentence of her article. what a funny coincidence, eh? oh my dog!

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  4. Raoul Duke says:

    So, is this game fun at all yet?

    It was very not fun last time I played it. But it could be fun.

  5. Ejia says:

    Well that was disappointing. I was expecting spaceships as pets, or spaceships having pets of their own (possibly also looking like spaceships) but apparently it’s only pets inside spaceships. My fragile hopes and dreams, dashed.

    • Shadow says:

      On the subject of spaceships, I’m getting continuously disappointed by the fact they seem to be constantly sidelined. With all the emphasis put on interplanetary teleporters, spaceships are gradually becoming little more than floating space houses. They should be the primary means for, you know, space travel, with teleporters remaining only as a tool to beam down to spots on the planet you’re presently orbiting.

      Trivialized space travel only makes the universe feel smaller than it should.

      • SalaciousJames says:

        Huh? You still need a spaceship to find planets and place teleporters on them in the first place. I see them as simply taking out the tedious travel involved when you need to retrieve a single item that you know is available on a previously explored planet.

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