Stop. Stop what you’re doing right now and watch this trailer for StarForge. Watch it without sound if you have to, just watch it! There’s a lot to take in during those six and a half minutes, but the bottom line is that StarForge looks to be a new “indie darling.” It quickly hit the top of Reddit today and even got the Notch bump (two of the quickest ways to crash your server).
Devoloped by two dudes, StarForge is making a lot of promises. Terrain deformation, base building, land-to-space travel (with no loading times!), procedural generation, and legit physics seem to be making the short list of features. The trailer demonstrates all of that, and you can even see for yourself by downloading a playable build of the game. Currently, the best way to download the game is through torrents, (found in the info box on YouTube) since their servers are being overloaded. The playable build isn’t as expansive as the trailer, so don’t get your hopes up just yet. Oh, and did I mention that it’s going to be free-to-play? Well, it is!
I’ve played the game for a bit, and I must say: I am very excited for the future of StarForge.
The playable build starts off by throwing you into an open area surrounded by trees and some mountains. The developers have said that Minecraft is one of their influences, and it’s pretty evident right from the start. You’re able to spawn turrets, boxes, and spinning hammers of doom in conjunction with changing the terrain in order to create your very own base. You can also spawn a wave of enemies to test your defenses. Judging from the video, this seems to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to StarForge.
One of the things that struck me was the player physics after being hit. Try getting hit with a missile or one of the spinning hammers. Your character tumbles in such a way that feels really impactful. Each big hit made me yell “OOF!” as I tumbled dozens of yards away. It’s still not perfect, as you occasionally get a glimpse of what’s under the floor, but remember: this is a very early alpha build. Jumping/platforming doesn’t feel quite right and it can be hard to build your base due to the clunkiness.
I hope that CodeHatch continues to release playable builds of StarForge as they continue to add more elements, not unlike Minecraft or Overgrowth. Embracing your fanbase by using their feedback to fuel your development is a great business model for certain indie games, and I think StarForge is a perfect fit for it. You can discuss your impressions of the game over at the official forums and let the developers know what’s awesome and what’s not!
For now I’ll just sit and wait as these amazing guys work on a bigger and better game.