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  1. #1

    What Space Sim Has Managed To Grab Your Attention?

    I have a certain fascination for space sim games, but I've only found only a few that I've managed to play for more than a couple of hours. Starflight 1 and 2 are one of those games, although I did have a hard time getting it to run properly. Rebel Galaxy is another game that I've spent more than a couple of hours on.


    How about you guys? What space sims have caught your attention so far?
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  2. #2
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    I struggle with space Sims. Love Elite's flight model. Love Rebel Galaxy's character.

    Ultimately though, space Sims are a genre stuck in the past. Just long grinds and watching numbers change. No depth. Unless you like spreadsheets. No soul.

    The genre needs a wake-up call. Which with Elite floundering it's slow way to failure and Star Citizen spending Hollywood money on EA/Ubi trailer blitzes, I think it's about to get.

    Too little too late, probably.

    Me, I want to get out if the ship. Meet characters. Forge alliances. Games think the ship is the focus but it never was. In good sci fi, the ship is just a method to enable travel and adventure. Just a means. Games never learned that. Just kept putting the focus on flying for its own sake.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EPICTHEFAIL's Avatar
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    Elite Dangerous wins by a country mile, thanks mainly to the excellent core flight model and combat. Nothing else really compares to it, and I say that having played just about every space sim out there. What few issues it does have (and by that I mean actual issues, not idiots who think "I don't like this and therefore it's bad" is a valid argument) are at this point easily made up for by an extremely solid set of core systems.

    Apart from that, Star Citizen is promising but currently marred by atrocious performance and a business model that is greedy in the same way Adolf Hitler was a bit mean. These are people who sell ships required to access core gameplay mechanics for prices several times in excess of the combined price of pretty much every other game that will be brought up in this thread.

    The X3 series is also pretty good, though I never really got into them much, and the old Frontier Elites are still fun as well, even if 90% of your time is spent not playing them. There is also StarWraith 3D's stuff, which is good but in my opinion has been steadily getting worse due to the developer somehow having gotten it into his head that bigger numbers equal a better game.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus zanchito's Avatar
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    Oldies but should work on a current machine: FreeSpace 2, Tachyon, Freelancer
    More recently: X3, KSP

    Playing ED every now and then, but it's not something I'd do for long periods of time at all.
    Steam: Zanchito || Guild Wars 2: Gatonegro || The Secret World: Mescalitoh || Elite Dangerous: CMDR Zanchito

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    I struggle with space Sims. Love Elite's flight model. Love Rebel Galaxy's character.

    Ultimately though, space Sims are a genre stuck in the past. Just long grinds and watching numbers change. No depth. Unless you like spreadsheets. No soul.

    The genre needs a wake-up call. Which with Elite floundering it's slow way to failure and Star Citizen spending Hollywood money on EA/Ubi trailer blitzes, I think it's about to get.

    Too little too late, probably.

    Me, I want to get out if the ship. Meet characters. Forge alliances. Games think the ship is the focus but it never was. In good sci fi, the ship is just a method to enable travel and adventure. Just a means. Games never learned that. Just kept putting the focus on flying for its own sake.
    I've heard good things about Elite Dangerous, but never was able to get into. Just didn't have the time, and when I did, I no longer had the hardware. If you don't mind me asking, what's the main issue plaguing the game?
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    Apollo 18: The Moon Missions, 200 page manual, exams to pass before you get a sniff of a control panel.

    And yes man would never have set foot on the moon had i been piloting....not in one piece anyway.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EPICTHEFAIL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebiscocrackers88 View Post
    I've heard good things about Elite Dangerous, but never was able to get into. Just didn't have the time, and when I did, I no longer had the hardware. If you don't mind me asking, what's the main issue plaguing the game?
    BC would probably say "grind", but that's not really the case. It certainly takes a while to get to the high-end ships and custom equipment, but in truth you can pretty much do anything within about an hour of starting. You won't be able to do it all that well, but the game is very good at letting you do things your way most of the time (outside of a few isolated cases like powerplay, the EVE-lite high-end meta game that doesn't work and bores me stiff). It really is a case of making your own fun though, since it is a pure free-form sim without any sort of campaign or story (thank goodness), so it is possible to get burned out on it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EPICTHEFAIL View Post
    It really is a case of making your own fun though, since it is a pure free-form sim without any sort of campaign or story (thank goodness), so it is possible to get burned out on it.
    Yeah, the problems aren't so much 'plagues' on the game as a lack of something. It's missing focus, you need to make your own fun but most playstyles/careers/whateveryouwanttocallit don't feel well implemented (yet?). Was hoping the recent mission system update would introduce the structure to sustain interest and create cool narratives but it doesn't seem to be there yet.

    Still played many hours and had a lot of fun exploring possibilities before losing interest in all of them.

    Does Tie Fighter count?

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    after more then I year I came back last week in ED. And while I love the flightmodel and the vastness of space of it. The galaxy itself feels dead. There are NPC's, and they improved them a bit with the last patch. But it still has a huge RNG feel to it, wich makes it only more artificial. It feels like the background sim and the world the players occupie are two different ones, it never connects.

    What I loved about the original Elite was you could fly anywhere and see NPC convoy's, pirates battling the local police, the universe felt alive. In ED its all instanced, so while you see NPC's flying around stations, they are only there to dress up the scene for you. They dont have any other purpose. If you drop out of warp in the middle of space you will see nobody, you only see npc's at "designated areas" wich I think I really dont like it so much. I want the universe to be doing its own thing, and me be a small part of that, in ED it 100% resolves around you. If you're not there, nothing happens.


    Now I grabbed x rebirth with the home of light expansion with the last gog sale and wow, thats more what I like. This is a living and breathing universe and gives you tons more freedom in what you want to do then in ED. No grind, you want to blow up ships, noprob, you want to mine, noprob, you want to become a spacetrucker, noprob and all within the same ship. each station you land on there are missions and stuff to do. Also the background simulation here works markets are influenced by actual npc convoy's that you see leaving and entering a system, and you can follow those, pirate them, or defend them against pirates.

    the game had a rocky launch, but its pretty smooth now, no gamebreaking bugs and Ive been playing this all weekend.
    Last edited by riesje; 20-06-2016 at 05:25 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebiscocrackers88 View Post
    I've heard good things about Elite Dangerous, but never was able to get into. Just didn't have the time, and when I did, I no longer had the hardware. If you don't mind me asking, what's the main issue plaguing the game?
    What plagues Elite isn't a problem. Per SE. The game does what it intends to do quite well. And with a flight model that is the envy of the industry.

    Elite's only real problem is it's core design philosophy and the Lead Dev who has it stuck in the 80s.

    Elite is a high tech Tin Man. Where it's heart would be instead sits only a machine, rigorous and precise. And rigid. It works. But only in the way a soulless calculator can: robotic, monotonous and devoid of meaning or context.

    Elite's missions don't form alliances or create personal contacts or allies. Deliveries do not engender you to people. Instead, it all just makes numbers go up, visualized on progress bars that make no attempt to hide the sheerly mathematical grind at the heartless center of this rigid, dated machine.

    If all you care about us how WELL it works, you won't mind. But if you want to care at all about HOW it works - or why - the game is like to leave you cold and distant.

    Even well oiled, soulless machines are like that.

    For the condensed version, find the dancing robot on YouTube. The one that looks like a human woman. Look at her dance moves, precise but vaguely human.

    Then look at her cold, dead, sharks eyes.

    Thats basically Elite.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    There is nothing problematic about system games, you might want some story driven stuff to have some character frame on top of the systemic one you'd assume generates some emotion about whatever it does - jcdenton realizes terrorist are local security or something and goes nonlethal by shooting darts instead of bullets, it's the same action with a different mindset, system games generate stories too but it's meant to be just enough to justify things.

    So Idk any story driven space sim might be an option but I don't care about this kind of games enough to remember a single name.



    .maybe supertruck with the my planet needs me gingle in the background
    Last edited by Wenz; 20-06-2016 at 06:35 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    What plagues Elite isn't a problem. Per SE. The game does what it intends to do quite well. And with a flight model that is the envy of the industry.

    Elite's only real problem is it's core design philosophy and the Lead Dev who has it stuck in the 80s.

    Elite is a high tech Tin Man. Where it's heart would be instead sits only a machine, rigorous and precise. And rigid. It works. But only in the way a soulless calculator can: robotic, monotonous and devoid of meaning or context.

    Elite's missions don't form alliances or create personal contacts or allies. Deliveries do not engender you to people. Instead, it all just makes numbers go up, visualized on progress bars that make no attempt to hide the sheerly mathematical grind at the heartless center of this rigid, dated machine.

    If all you care about us how WELL it works, you won't mind. But if you want to care at all about HOW it works - or why - the game is like to leave you cold and distant.

    Even well oiled, soulless machines are like that.

    For the condensed version, find the dancing robot on YouTube. The one that looks like a human woman. Look at her dance moves, precise but vaguely human.

    Then look at her cold, dead, sharks eyes.

    Thats basically Elite.

    Cool. So, it's like the game is so huge but it's also so very empty when all things are considered? Well that sucks. On another note, I might still try out ED though. It seems like a good way to kill a few dozen hours just exploring the whole universe.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wenz View Post
    There is nothing problematic about system games, you might want some story driven stuff to have some character frame on top of the systemic one you'd assume generates some emotion about whatever it does - jcdenton realizes terrorist are local security or something and goes nonlethal by shooting darts instead of bullets, it's the same action with a different mindset, system games generate stories too but it's meant to be just enough to justify things.

    So Idk any story driven space sim might be an option but I don't care about this kind of games enough to remember a single name.



    .maybe supertruck with the my planet needs me gingle in the background
    I'm not talking about systemic games in general. I am talking - very specifically - about Elite: Dangerous. And the fact that what I find problematic about the game, is problematic not in terms of the game's functionality - i was very careful to state that the game runs fine, in fact - but for me, personally.

    The game lacks soul. It lacks character. It lacks depth. And it tries, in true, tired Bethesda fashion, to make for all of it, with sheer size. Braben thought he was so charismatic and so skilled and that so many people would kiss the ground at his feet for a space sim, that he could just pull a Todd Howard and give us an empty shell with one or two solid mechanics, and people would worship at his altar once more.

    Trouble is, the world's moved on since Oblivion. And its damned sure moved on since the original Elite series. Gaming rigs can do more. Gamers expect more.

    What Braben promised us, was a space simulator. What he delivered, was 1984 with better graphics and a boatload of RNG grind on top, labeled as a game. There's no soul; no character. No depth and none of your decisions matter.

    Me, I love systemic games. In fact I pretty much LOATHE video games as a story telling device, since, you know, 99% of them do a piss poor job of the task. Embarrassingly bad at it, for the most part, the entire industry; like a bunch of self conscious kids still believing the societal cliche that their hobby is somehow inferior to the crap media their idols put out in Hollywood and so thoroughly internalizing that belief that they have turned it into some self fulfilling prophecy. Because if you work in a subpar industry why even try to begin with, right?

    I digress.

    I love system driven games. Hence my love for the (narratively) bare bones Souls series. There are things I loathe about Dark souls, too; for one, I think its propensity to continue ramping difficulty up constantly throughout the game is tiresome and frustrating in every title. But at least the devs dont embarrass themselves by pretending their game has a narrative flow based around a story wherein tension is artificially injected based on proposed (and preposterous) notions such as risk to the protagonist, while constantly breaking the flow with your repeated, artificial death and the need to watch the same cut scene 10 times until you finally kill another boss.

    In short: No. More story driven games, are the LAST thing I want from an industry that's embarrassingly bad at making them. Still.

    What I want are more system driven games. Except...good ones. And Elite falls flat. Because one thing system driven games do well, is allow the player to tell their own stories. Unique stories. With unique, memorable, meaningful narratives that belong to them. Systemic games allow players to use their systems as tools to create their own tales, with special, memorable moments.

    But that takes systems with depth, clarity and character. Systems capable of creating and sustaining halfway meaningful interactions between themselves, and the player.

    Elite lacks that. And worse, its not because it tried and didnt quite manage to pull it off. Hell, even Bethesda gets THAT out. Even they can claim they at least tried.

    Braben couldn't even be bothered. He just took a group of Engineers and created a flight model so great that other people should probably just straight rip it off and give it some chance of actually ending up in a GOOD game. Because all Braben has done since then, is create a bunch of menus with progress bars, and empty, soulless means by which we can increase and decrease them. Mostly the latter.

    My problem is not with system driven games. My problem is very specifically with system driven games that, like Elite, are mostly crap, yet have far much more potential in them than they do behind them.

    Quote Originally Posted by rebiscocrackers88 View Post
    Cool. So, it's like the game is so huge but it's also so very empty when all things are considered? Well that sucks. On another note, I might still try out ED though. It seems like a good way to kill a few dozen hours just exploring the whole universe.
    Wide as an Ocean...deep as the tide pool. People usually say that about Bethesda games, and I am generally inclined to agree. But unlike Elite, Bethesda games are both highly customizable and occasionally capable of moments of sheer brilliance. Elite, on the other hand, probably still has its best moments in front of it, but lets face it: They will come when someone higher up is smart enough to stop Braben from turning his dream into his players' collective nightmare.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EPICTHEFAIL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebiscocrackers88 View Post
    Cool. So, it's like the game is so huge but it's also so very empty when all things are considered? Well that sucks. On another note, I might still try out ED though. It seems like a good way to kill a few dozen hours just exploring the whole universe.
    Empty? No, not really. There's loads to do, loads to see, and the core systems are very deep indeed. I regard it as easily one of the finest games of the decade and really cannot even begin to fathom what Blackcompany's problem with it is.

  15. #15
    Code:
    Ctrl+F, "kerb", "No matches".
    This thread is a sham.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Code:
    Ctrl+F, "kerb", "No matches".
    This thread is a sham.
    Psst, try "KSP."

    Though Kerbal would be a better space sim if it provided more useful data/feedback.

  17. #17
    Network Hub Det. Bullock's Avatar
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    The open world spacesims tend to get boring after a while unless you really like sandboxes,IMHO.

    My advice are: Tie Fighter (Dos CD-rom version can be played with mouse and keyboard, windows version requires some sort of controller or it doesn't start at all, both Steam and GOG.com have both versions in the same package), Freespace 2 with FreespaceOpen (so that you can play also the first Freespace campaign and Silent Threat: Reborn in the new engine before the main Freespace 2 campaign, available both on GOG.com and Steam, but the Steam version is problematic from what I hear), Tachyon: The Fringe (Steam).

    Both Tie Fighter and Freespace 2 are on sale on GOG.com right now, the Freespace 2 GOG installer can be used directly with the FSopen installer to install the game already modded without needing to install the game before modding it.

    The most open of these is Tachyon: The Fringe in the fact that you are a mercenary and have to buy your weapons instead of being a pilot for a military organization like in TF or FS2 and that sometimess you can just go make a joyride through the relatively few in-game locations and loot some crates here and there but it's more a linear affair similar to Tie Fighter or Freespace than a Privateer or an Elite.
    Last edited by Det. Bullock; 21-06-2016 at 12:03 AM.
    "I pity the poor shades confined to the euclidean prison that is sanity." - Grant Morrison
    "People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff." - The Doctor

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by EPICTHEFAIL View Post
    Empty? No, not really. There's loads to do, loads to see, and the core systems are very deep indeed. I regard it as easily one of the finest games of the decade and really cannot even begin to fathom what Blackcompany's problem with it is.
    I must admit that there's a healthy degree of wanting Elite to be more than it is, influencing my feelings toward the game. I do love flying the ships. Some days I log in just to do delivery runs and hear station chatter. Honestly, I do.

    But I would love to be able to develop my own contacts. Get to know characters and work with them through more than text. You know how Han Solo or Mal Reynolds always seem to "know people" who can provide lucrative but dangerous jobs, or a safe haven? These relationships add character to otherwise expansive but largely empty sci fi settings.

    Elite has none of this, of course. Like every space sim ever, it places all of its focus on flying, and nothing on character. Just something I think needs to change about space sims in general.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    Me thinks that if you play it online with a bunch of friends you sorta solved it

  20. #20
    For me, its Kerbal Space Program. Its the perfect space sim

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