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Dean Hall's Stationeers spacewalks into early access

More systems more problems

I want to be the type of person who plays and enjoys Stationeers, the Space Station 13-inspired construction and management game from Day Z creator Dean Hall's studio Rocketwerkz. Unfortunately, I am the type of person who initially gets excited at the prospect of managing complex interlocking systems, then finds it all too much and scampers back to Overwatch.

That won't stop me trying mind, as I'll get the chance to when the game launches on Steam Early Access later tonight.

Here's a trailer from November, though if you pop over to Steam you can see the latest one.

Cover image for YouTube video

Staioneers is the project that RocketWerkz turned to after deciding to permanently stop work on Ion, their hyper-ambitious space simulation game. It's inspired by Space Station 13, though the impression I get from Steam is that that refers more to SS13's system management part than the roleplaying side. It seems the roles are all geared towards actively building and managing the station and its inhabitants, rather than more left-field roles like a janitor or bartender. You can rear animals and grow plants though, so I'm looking forward to embarking on a career as a space farmer. Hopefully it'll be more fun than growing potatoes with Matt Damon.

Other features include atmospheric systems like pressure and combustion, gravity simulation, factories, surgeries and mining. If that all sounds rather complicated, then that's because it is. So much so that there's a warning on Steam about it:

"This game has been designed for the hardcore players who want games that are very systems oriented. This is a game about complex systems and how you optimize them. The game presents a variety of science-based survival problems that you have to solve yourself, and then try and optimize your solutions over time. For those not seeking a very intensive and hardcore experience, this game is not for you."

Which of course only makes me want to play it more, in the full knowledge that I'll bail before my space adventure has properly begun. I mean, look at when Dean Hall opens up a 'logic controller' 30 minutes into the most recent dev stream. It's terrifying.

Cover image for YouTube video

I can see it being played best in large groups, where each person can be in charge of managing one of those many, many systems. You can play the game on your own, though I baulk at the idea of trying to get my head around everything that's happening in the video below.

If you were hoping to get up to the same kind of traitorous antics as in Space Station 13, I'd recommend checking out Barotrauma. It's less fiddly, (though by no means simple), and each player has the chance of been given a secret objective that's at odds with the goal of the main mission.

Stationeers will be available on Steam from 10pm tonight for $25. RocketWerkz say it'll be in early access for at least another year, so if Hall's record is anything to go by it'll probably be another 5 or so.

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Matt Cox

Former Staff Writer

Once the leader of Rock Paper Shotgun's Youth Contingent, Matt is an expert in multiplayer games, deckbuilders and battle royales. He occasionally pops back into the Treehouse to write some news for us from time to time, but he mostly spends his days teaching small children how to speak different languages in warmer climates.