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Games Workshop photo
Games Workshop

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada continues to look cool


No touching
May 07
// Jordan Devore
There are a bunch of upcoming games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Many of them look less than stellar, assuming you can even keep up with them all, but a few manage to stand out. One is Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, wh...

Review: Kerbal Space Program

May 05 // Jordan Devore
Kerbal Space Program (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: SquadPublisher: SquadReleased: April 27, 2014 (version 1.0)MSRP: $39.99 This is a game built to last. There are people out there spending hundreds of hours playing, learning, and teaching Kerbal Space Program and I'm not talking about some miniscule group of superfans. It's the kind of game that, whether you like it or not, comes creeping into your mind when you're supposed to be off doing literally anything else. It's contagious. There are a lot of deep, dense systems at play, and getting a handle on even the basics (knowing apoapsis from periapsis, prograde from retrograde) necessitates a commitment to learning real-world science and game mechanics before it "gets fun." I mean, sure, cobbling together a rocket, to use that word loosely, is enjoyable. At first. But then I came to realize what was possible in this sandbox and grew restless, forever in search of the next self-set milestone. However much effort you put into Kerbal, you'll get exponentially more back. Early on, you're met with one humbling experience after another. I went into the tutorials all bright-eyed and cheerful before the overwhelming reality of physics (my most dreaded subject in high school) came crashing down on me. The game's cartoon alien astronauts, the Kerbals, are a welcome sight. Their oddball expressions and mannerisms help warm up what would otherwise be a cold, calculated simulation. Not long into a training mission, one of them told me the job at hand "should be pretty easy even if you're not a famous rocket scientist like myself." Not a moment later, there I was, licking my wounds and wondering why that Kerbal had turned my home office into a house of lies. I'm not sure I've ever failed a videogame tutorial multiple times before. This is confidence-shattering stuff. My first hour or so is a blur by now, but I took notes along the way. "Intimidating homework," I summarized. Reading instructions, re-reading them, trying to do what they describe, failing, then repeating the process and inching slightly closer to success -- this is how it goes. Until, suddenly, it clicks. Bliss. [embed]291550:58433:0[/embed] The first time my rocket lifted off correctly, I cracked a smile and laughed with astonishment. It was joyous. Incredible. Then the thing started spinning out of control and the Kerbals trapped inside were doomed. I knew it, but did they? Those poor, brave, totally naive little green men. Upon failing the lesson, my instructor said he wasn't expecting disaster to strike. Personally, I had been counting the seconds. It gets better, though. You, the player, get better. On Twitter, I was told to seek out community-made guides and I'll echo that advice. The in-game tutorials aren't nearly as clear or hands-on as I would've liked, and a lack of grammatical polish didn't make using them any easier. Walkthroughs and wikis might as well be mandatory. There are folks out there like Scott Manley who are producing exceptional videos, and I'd be so lost without them. The simple act of watching someone else solve a problem -- escaping the atmosphere without burning an obscene amount of fuel, matching a distant vessel's orbit, saving a Kerbal lost in space (sorry!) -- can be enough to give you that edge. Thankfully, constructing rockets is simple. You drag individual components onto a 3D stage and snap them together. It's not quite building with LEGO bricks, but given the game's complicated subject matter, it is surprisingly close. Which parts you select for your ship and in what order, however, can be overwhelming. That's more of a problem in Sandbox mode, where you're given total freedom with a vast list of similar-looking pieces, than in Career mode, where new technology trickles in as you grow your space program from the ground up. Another surprise: the controls are, relative to learning astrodynamics, not too tough to figure out. The user interface is initially confusing, what with all of the gauges and that intimidating navigation ball to monitor, but Kerbal Space Program makes smart use of the keyboard. Cobbling together a bunch of ships and finally getting one of them to orbit the Earth-esque planet Kerbin for the first time is an awesome feeling. As in, awe-inspiring. It's a big milestone -- one I won't soon forget -- but there are countless more to tackle. You can switch to a map of space to track your vessel's trajectory and set up maneuvers to reach, say, the Mun (moon), or an asteroid, or make the journey back home. Actually, you can do whatever you want -- this is an open-ended game, after all -- but maybe don't sprint before you can crawl. For me, there is such a thing as too little structure in games, and for that reason I found myself switching back and forth between Kerbal's Sandbox and Career modes. The latter has a tech tree and jobs for you to take on. Newcomers will find its scope far more comfortable. As you gain science points by conducting research in the field and transmitting the data to your base (or physically bringing it and your spacecraft back safely to Kerbin's surface), you'll unlock access to more advanced gear. As you complete jobs -- testing specific parts at certain speeds and altitudes, or taking tourists on a ride without killing them, for example -- you'll get funds to upgrade your space program. A third mode, Science, rests in between Sandbox and Career. You'll still have to earn new parts by collecting science points, but, unlike Career mode, you won't need to worry about your space program's money or reputation woes. There are also several standalone scenarios, some of which were created in collaboration with NASA (get this game into schools!), that bypass the whole planning and building process and put you straight into an active mission. They're a great worry-free practice environment. Outside of those core modes, there are numerous mods to tinker with. The game has attracted a passionate, talented, dedicated community of players and creators. Even if the developers at Squad stop supporting Kerbal Space Program with new content and polish updates, I'm convinced this game will still be relevant a decade from now. My main fear of simulation titles is that I'll get bored. But, come to think of it, not once was I bored with Kerbal Space Program. I may have felt confused, and irritated, and hopeless at times, but those setbacks were fleeting. My desire to improve remains steadfast. Even the smallest accomplishments feel like massive victories, and once you experience that euphoria, you won't want to quit. Watch your ambition soar. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Kerbal Space Program photo
Science doesn't screw around
I might have never touched Kerbal Space Program had it not been offered as a review assignment. What a tremendous shame that would've been. From a comfortable distance, I had seen enough of this hardcore rocket-building and ...

Descent Kickstarter photo
Descent Kickstarter

Descent: Underground is on Kickstarter


Ascending the news on this space FPS
Mar 15
// Glowbear
Do you guys remember Descent? (No, not the Freespace series). I certainly do and I'm very pleased that a new entry to the series is coming our way with Descent: Underground. The Kickstarter for this game has already hit an im...

Heat Signature is the best game I saw at GDC

Mar 10 // Mike Cosimano
[embed]288833:57687:0[/embed] Heat Signature (PC)Developer: Suspicious DevelopmentsPublisher: Suspicious DevelopmentsRelease Date: When it "feels ready" If you look at Heat Signature, it’s not difficult to see a through-line between this game and Gunpoint. There’s a lot of opportunity for emergent gameplay in both titles, with an emphasis on improvisation. I often found myself cracking up whenever something went wrong. Rebounding from a mistake never felt impossible. Here, you play a little dude in a little ship. That’s all I know for sure; there’s currently no story attached to the game. Francis is dedicated to feature locking before he starts writing a story around the mechanics, but there will be some form of narrative component in the final product. Your ship is designed for boarding, so your only form of interacting with other ships is smashing into their airlock and hopping aboard. The build of the game I played had three different kinds of missions: steal an item, assassinate a crew member, or hijack a ship and fly it back to a certain spot. They’re simple enough on their own, but the missions take on a whole new life when things start going wrong. For example, I accidentally blew up part of a ship during a mission. I had to kill a target in a different part of the ship, but the corridor I was supposed to take was in pieces, floating through space. So I docked my ship in the blown-out part of the mining vessel, creating a new airlock, only to find a locked door. The only option? Spawn more explosives and make an even bigger mess. I never actually got to my target, but I could have hijacked a nearby ship with actual weapons and blown my target to smithereens, if I were so inclined. So many games claim to offer open problem solving, but Heat Signature actually delivers (much like Gunpoint). For example, in the build I played, it’s possible for your breaching ship to be destroyed. So, in lieu of a breaching ship, you can launch yourself out of an airlock towards another ship’s airlock, steering yourself with a gun. Even the death state feels exciting and improvisational. If you get killed while on a ship, you have to remote control your ship in your direction before you bleed to death. Since your ship has realistic thrusters (e.g: the only way to slow down is to thrust in the other direction) as opposed to being able to turn on a dime, you’re forced to master the controls if you want to keep a particularly lucrative run going. This also factors into the game’s title. Running your engines heats up your ship, which causes your *ahem* heat signature to become visible to enemies. I often ran my thrusters at full blast for a second, launching me across the galaxy but keeping my ship cold. However, this often caused me to slam against the hull of the enemy ship, causing me to careen off in the opposite direction. Closing the distance between you and your quarry -- a simple mechanical loop in any other game -- feels like an adventure unto itself. And that’s Heat Signature in a word. It feels adventurous. It feels big. It captures the imagination. Maybe it’s unprofessional to express this level of enthusiasm, but I’m not going to sit here and lie to you about how I feel. This game is awesome. I can’t wait to play the full thing.
Heat Signature GDC photo
What's cooler than being cool?
Gunpoint ultimately had very little to do with guns. It was a smartly designed puzzler with an immensely satisfying core set of mechanics and witty dialogue. But the title never came into play; pointing guns at people always ...

Star Citizen photo
Star Citizen

Seeing ships sliced apart in Star Citizen is satisfying


Improved damage tech demonstrated
Mar 09
// Jordan Devore
As a casual observer of Star Citizen, I've struggled to keep up to date with the game's open development. It can be overwhelming. That's why I appreciate this recent video covering the damage model -- it's accessible. Blowin...

Elite: Dangerous has bold plans for the future

Mar 05 // Alessandro Fillari
"It's always brilliant to see how many people were supportive of the game," said lead designer David Braben as he reflected on the initial debut of Elite. "So many people helped us do that, and one of the great things about Kickstarter is that it brings together a crowd of people who all have very similar goal. So it's worked overall very, very well for us -- I'm actually very proud of what we've done. And another thing, we've not only shipped the game, but we've continued support of the game." As one of the early Kickstarter success stories, Elite: Dangerous grabbed a lot of attention for its vision as a space-exploration title across a massive and ever-growing universe. As a sequel to the '90s space sim Frontier, many fans of the genre yearned for a return, which they got in Frontier Developments' crowdfunded title. Despite its scope and breadth of content so far, the creators already have much of the development mapped out for the next few years. [embed]288572:57606:0[/embed] "I see [the vision] for a very, very long time growing, and it'll keep us occupied. We said there would be paid updates, and some of the things we said you could do in those is going down to planet surfaces, get up out of your chair and explore the cockpit, boarding other ships, big-game hunting, driving other types of vehicles on the surface to explore cities; but designing each one is like a whole new type of game. We have to be careful, but to me those are the perfect types of game experiences." With the success of previous updates and expansions, such as patch 1.1, the developers fully plan continue support with new patches and paid content packs in the future. With the Wings update, which seeks to add more PvP content, co-op play, and other enhancements to matchmaking, there is a sizeable amount of content on the horizon. "We've had amazing dedication from a lot of players, many players have played a significant amount of time -- more than a thousand hours. We're listening to a lot of players and quite a few of the people who've played that length of time are saying 'oh, I've seen everything now,' and they actually haven't. The great thing with this model is that we can add content continually, such as the Wings update and the community events. We've only been out for around three months, and people are already sinking so much time into it." The most surprising announcement from this week was that Elite would be making its way to consoles. Though the space sim genre is somewhat notorious for its complexity and dense gameplay, the developers were adamant that the title would not only feature all the content released thus far, but also that it would not be watered down for consoles. "I don't want to dumb it down," said Braben rather bluntly. "I'm an Xbox gamer, and I love games on my Xbox, but there are some games I feel that have been dumbed down a bit [for console port]. I get sick of tutorials, that are giving you very obvious instructions. So overall, I'm very excited about the console. It'll offer a different feel for players where you're sitting back on a comfortable chair or siting up close to a desk." Of course, with the recent trends seeing virtual reality as the future of games, the developers wanted to get ahead of that by being among the first to officially support the device. Which certainly plaid off, as it's one of the most used games for the Oculus Rift headset. As more companies are announcing devices, Braben is optimistic about the potential VR has for gaming. "[Working with VR] has been a good experience," he said. "The great thing about being independent is when we first released [a beta] in 2013, there was Oculus Rift support five or six days later, which we added. We were always excited abut it, and we thought our game would make great use of it. What's good to see now is that the number of new head-mounted displays coming out, and I think that's exciting -- what's interesting is that I think there aren't any other triple-A titles like Elite: Dangerous that are officially supporting it right out of the box. We see lots of demos, but it's surprising to see there isn't a consumer release VR headset." It's great to see that a hardcore space sim has been so widely accepted by fans. And as the game grows every few months with its updates, players will have plenty of content to dive into. The future looks bright for Elite: Dangerous, and with the console releases on the horizon, the barrier for entry is much lower now for those looking to dive into interstellar exploration.
Elite: Dangerous photo
The developers talk content updates and VR
Things have been going well for Frontier Developments. With the success of Elite: Dangerous, which features a sizeable and passionate community of space explorers, and having won the prestigious Audience Award from the 2015 G...

Elite on Xbox One photo
Elite on Xbox One

Elite: Dangerous lands on Xbox One this summer


Console debut
Mar 04
// Jordan Devore
[Update: Elite: Dangerous is a timed console exclusive on Xbox One but will be eventually come to PlayStation 4, according to Frontier Developments founder David Braben.] During a talk at the Game Developers Conference, head...
Universal Combat CE photo
Universal Combat CE

3000AD releases remastered Universal Combat CE for free on Steam


Return to the days of keyboard flashcards and 200-page manuals
Feb 07
// Jason Faulkner
If Randy Pitchford and Peter Molyneux had a baby, Derek Smart would be the result. The long-running controversy concerning his first game Battlecruiser 3000AD is the stuff of internet legend and could fill a tome. With U...
Elite Dangerous Patch photo
Elite Dangerous Patch

Elite: Dangerous 1.1 patch brings pilots together and enhances gameplay


Todd 'Maniac' Marshall, at your service, ma'am!
Feb 06
// Jason Faulkner
Elite: Dangerous continues to mature with the latest 1.1 BETA update. The addition of Community Goals adds missions for groups of players to work towards, like destroying x amount of enemies, or hauling a certain cargo t...
Out There: Omega Edition photo
Out There: Omega Edition

How long can you survive in Out There: Omega Edition?


Mi-Clos' roguelike reminds us how insignificant we are in the universe
Jan 29
// Rob Morrow
Out There: Omega Edition by Mi-Clos Studio is certainly a pretty little thing. Don't let its eye-catching pulp-comic appearance fool you, though. It's a difficult game. Think Oregon Trail meets FTL and you'll have a goo...
Star Wars on GOG.com photo
Star Wars on GOG.com

Are you ready for some X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and X-Wing Alliance?


More Star Wars games on GOG.com
Jan 20
// Jordan Devore
The re-releases of X-Wing and TIE Fighter were lovely, but they were only the start of GOG.com's plans for Star Wars. Today, the DRM-free game distributor added six new titles: Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter + Balance of ...
Distant Star: RF photo
Distant Star: RF

Distant Star: Revenant Fleet is an Early Access title to keep an eye on


Blazing Griffin's Scott Boyd gives us some pointers on how to die less often!
Jan 09
// Rob Morrow
I've tried to keep one eye on Blazing Griffin's lovely looking real-time space strategy game Distant Star: Revenant Fleet for a while now, however, the slippery devil somehow managed to sneak past me and ...
Eve Online photo
Eve Online

Schadenfreude alert: EVE Online pilot loses $1,500 after attack on unarmored ship


PerPLEXing strategy
Jan 05
// Brett Makedonski
You know what seems like a sound strategy for getting robbed? Try taking $1,500 cash out of the bank and transporting it elsewhere by walking down the street at night and waving that money in everyone's faces. Oh yeah, do all...
Star Citizen FPS photo
Star Citizen FPS

Explore the majesty of the universe, then shoot some dudes in the face with Star Citizen's FPS module


I call my shotgun the 'prime directive.' Get it?
Nov 05
// Nic Rowen
Like the universe itself, Star Citizen's ambitious scope continues to infinitely expand. Chris Roberts himself, infectiously enthusiastic as always, was at PAX Australia last week to unveil the first public demonstration of ...
Human Orbit photo
Human Orbit

Human Orbit will let you indulge your rogue AI fantasies


Want to be SHODAN or HAL?
Oct 01
// Alasdair Duncan
Is it me or are all artificial intelligences on spacecraft always evil? GLaDOS, HAL, SHODAN, the ... steering wheel thingy from WALL-E -- all of them were pretty evil, or at least fairly negligent in their jobs and now it's y...
Heat Signature photo
Heat Signature

Heat Signature is already looking hot


I couldn't help myself
Sep 29
// Alasdair Duncan
Heat Signature was one of the games I most wanted to get my hands on at EGX. Designer Tom Francis was the guy behind Gunpoint, one of my favorites of 2013, and this next title similarly allows a great deal of player expressio...
Elite: Dangerous photo
Elite: Dangerous

Here's the digital goodies you'll get if you pre-order Elite: Dangerous


An extra ship? Sure, that sounds good
Sep 12
// Alasdair Duncan
While there's no firm release date, you can pre-purchase a copy of Elite: Dangerous from Frontier Developments. To sweeten the deal, if you order now you'll get some digital goodies like an extra Eagle Fighter ship which sou...
 photo

GoD Factory: Wingmen is a thing of beauty, now available on Steam


Arcade-like space sim allows for tactical multiplayer action
Aug 30
// Rob Morrow
Nine Dots Studio's gorgeous-looking multiplayer space combat game GoD Factory: Wingmen is now available on Steam. Wingmen is a 4v4 competitive arcade-like title where the goal is to destroy the enemy's 13km carrier...
Elite Dangerous photo
Elite Dangerous

Watch this crafty space pirate avoid the cops in Elite: Dangerous


It's like Smokey and the Bandit meets Red October. In space!
Aug 26
// Alasdair Duncan
Remember kids, crime doesn't pay. That is unless you find illicit liquor floating in space and decided to slowly sneak into a space station without the cops seeing you. In which case, it very much pays. YouTube user Isinona ...
Ancient Space photo
Ancient Space

Ancient Space is a new space RTS from Paradox Interactive


Dwight Schultz is in it! Murdock from the A-team!!
Aug 21
// Alasdair Duncan
If you're anxiously waiting for that Homeworld HD remake to arrive, we can console ourselves with another nice-looking space-based RTS game in Ancient Space which will dock with us later in the autumn for PC and Mac. Develop...
Star Citizen photo
Star Citizen

Star Citizen breaks the $50 million mark


All aboard your $350 luxury space craft
Aug 18
// Alasdair Duncan
Remember that animated .gif of Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata holding a DS and proclaiming "It prints money"? You could probably do the same with a picture of Chris Roberts and his pet project Star Citizen. The ambitious ...
Star Citizen photo
Star Citizen

New Star Citizen teaser commercial centers on Constellation


Building better worlds...
Aug 18
// Brittany Vincent
The latest in the series of faux commercials for Star Citizen released by Roberts Space Industries focuses on the Constellation multi-purpose corvette, specifically the Aquila variant. The Constellation Aquila will be focuse...
Star Citizen multiplayer photo
Star Citizen multiplayer

This Star Citizen multiplayer crew gameplay demo looks amazing!


Suit up, gather your crew, and head into space in this latest Star Citizen demonstration
Aug 16
// Rob Morrow
Chris Roberts' ambitious space trading and combat simulator Star Citizen has come a long way since its crowdfunding beginnings back in 2012. In this latest footage from gamescom 2014, Roberts and his staff demonstrate h...
Freebies photo
Freebies

Wing Commander III is free on Origin


Now I just need a joystick
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
The next free game in EA's On the House promo for Origin is the classic space combat sim Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger. Add it to your account and its yours to keep. This is definitely something to check out for folk...
PS4 photo
PS4

Put a dinosaur head on your spaceship in Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit


Newly announced for PlayStation 4
Jul 30
// Jordan Devore
"Habitat is the only strategic space survival game that uses orbital debris to build the future homes of humanity and where hope for survival relies on the creativity and resourcefulness of the player." This is one of those...
Elite photo
Elite

David Braben hopes Elite: Dangerous will be 'future proof'


I suppose we'll find out in 2024 if he's right
Jul 17
// Alasdair Duncan
Part of me worries about the three big upcoming space games No Man's Sky, Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous. I'm fearful they'll consume my life for years to come. Some of that is going to be down to DLC and expanded content...
Star Citizen photo
Star Citizen

Star Citizen launches Arena Commander for backers


Y'all ready for this?
Jun 04
// Jordan Devore
The bugs which led to the delay of Star Citizens' anticipated Arena Commander have been taken care of and the dogfighting module is now playable in an alpha capacity. If you're a backer, download it here, or simply update th...
Star Citizen photo
Star Citizen

Star Citizen Arena Commander dogfighting update delayed


There's still plenty of bugs to be ironed out
May 29
// Alasdair Duncan
As gamers seem to be more and more willing to play games in an unfinished state, it feels surprising to me when a developer decides to delay an update because of bugs. Of course unfinished games are buggy -- we expect that --...
 photo

Perseus 230 looks like the Star Fox game I've been wanting for years


Inspired by classics like Star Fox and Sin & Punishment
May 16
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
A new Star Fox game is about realistic as a new 2D Metroid game these days from Nintendo. So leave it to indies to capture the spirit of games from our youth. Whereas Axiom Verge is fulfilling our Metroid desires, Perseus 23...






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