Stardock

I Want a Starship Simulator

...and IronClad/Stardock should do it!

By on December 31, 2008 2:38:17 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

RooksBailey

Join Date 02/2008
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I was on another site and we were discussing the types of games PC gamers want but can't have because no one is making them anymore.  After scratching my head, I realized that one genre we haven't seen in a long time is the starship simulator.  By that, I mean a game that puts you in command of a full-fledged, space-going warship.  The last good one I played was back on the 16-bits and was called Starfleet Command I.  It was a game that took place in a Star Trek-like universe where the player was put in charge of a warship.  You could earn ranks and medals by completing successful patrols and such.  Even though it was a simplistic game by todays standards, it still had all the essential feature: navigation, tractor beams, marine boarding parties, damage control, phasers and photons torps, mines, etc.  Great stuff!

In the world of 32-bit gaming, we haven't really seen a good starship simulator.  There have been a steady trickle of Wingman-type games (with Jumpgate Evolution being the most recent), but those are more about single seat craft and dogfighting.  There was Battlecruiser 3000 AD, but that was a disaster.  Star Trek Bridge Commander was decent, but it is quite long in the tooth now (but it did have the right idea).  EVE does offer command of large ships, but while configurations can be quite complex, you really are still only operating a ship of one. 

I would love to see some company take a crack at this forgotten genre once again.  After playing Ubisoft's excellent Silent Hunter series, I think a similar, space-based game could be awesome.  With today's computational abilities, a gamer could literally walk the corridors of his ship, interact with his crew/systems and engage in detailed patrols (again, basically Silent Hunter).  

Perhaps Stardock/Ironclad would be the ones to do this?  Both companies seem to love their space-based games.  What is more, now that we've seen the excellence that is Sins, a game that will only get better and more epic as it matures with these expansions, the Sins universe would seem to be a natural setting for such a game.  I think it would be a lot of fun to see the Sins universe from the bridge of a single vessel, such as a Kol battlecruiser. 

Just a thought.   I just wish somebody would pick up the spaceship sim genre once again, though. 

 

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December 31, 2008 3:03:20 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Star Trek Klingon Academy?

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December 31, 2008 3:11:13 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I don't even remember that game.   I looked it up and saw that it came out around eight years ago - not exactly the "new" game I was looking for.     It sounded good, though.

 

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December 31, 2008 3:16:58 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

All of the X games (Xbtf/x2/x3/x3tc)

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December 31, 2008 3:26:54 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Wow, never heard of the X series before.  I just checked out the most recent - it does sound interesting, but it also sounds more like an EVE one man ship setup than commanding an entire warship with a full crew.  Am I wrong? 

 

***Edit:  I looked more into X3: Terran Conflict and really liked what I saw.  It reminds me very much of a single player EVE.  I went to the website to buy it and, alas, it is listed as "sold out," not to mention everything is sold in Euros.  The game is only a few months old and its own website is sold out?  Am I missing something? I guess this is why I never heard of the series before.  The company looks like it has some great ideas, but it needs to increase its visibility and availability. 

Oh well.  Thanks for the rec.  I am going to check out Steam and see if they have it as a DD.

Edit 2: They do.  Might pick this one up. But still not the type of battlecruiser sim I wrote about above. 

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December 31, 2008 3:58:43 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

What I would like to see in a game:  Take Fallout 3's fpsrpg engine, a space combat stratagy engine (Like Homeworld 2 or Space Wolves 2), and wrap it all up in a Privateer bow to the tune of open ended campaign with story missioons in space and on the ground.  Imagine, if you will, a game where you can do fps, space combat rts, or (If you choose to be a fighter pilot instead of a capital ship captain) a space combat sim.

Hehehe I ask a lot but then I come from the paper and pencil d&d generation of rpg gamers =-P

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December 31, 2008 4:55:04 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

There are the freeware BattleCruiser games, but i didn't like them personally.

A note on X3: you start with simple fighter, but you can buy and pilot capital ships eventually. I played dozens of hours of X3: reunion, but only got to a corvette.  The thing is, you must trade and create factories to ever have enough to buy those ships. X3 veterans have said that the focus is on economy rather than fighting, but i hear the bigger battles on kha'ak and xenon sectors are quite intensive. I never got to them, though

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December 31, 2008 5:28:53 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

X3:R is indeed slow paced. It's possible to skip the "trading" part of the game and focus on fighting, but it's still slow.
X3:TC is said to be faster, making capital ships accessible earlier in the game (and said to have more capital ship to capital ship battles )

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December 31, 2008 5:36:11 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

X3:R is indeed slow paced. It's possible to skip the "trading" part of the game and focus on fighting, but it's still slow.

 

well, depends - if you go for xenon raids it is quite fast paced and as long as you stay in smaller ships (m3 - m3+ or the m7 yacht) it's actually a nice combat simulator.

but the heart of the game is definatly the economy and that is indeed a bit slower

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December 31, 2008 6:16:13 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting CrusaderScott,
I don't even remember that game.   I looked it up and saw that it came out around eight years ago - not exactly the "new" game I was looking for.

 

More new... last stable version is from April 2008... and it is free !!!

 

Try Vega Strike : http://vegastrike.sourceforge.net/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega_Strike

 

And is you wish, you have some total conversion mod for it... nothing stop you to import a model a use it in the game... limit for capitalship is around the 50k poly who is more that the double that sins allow... they are working to a migration on the Ogre engine who is full of promise...

 

It was my only space game for Linux until Sins was coming... it is full of potential but they use 3Dmodels who sµck ( Vegas, not Sins )... To few good modder there and too much good coder/programmer...

 

Since it is free, give it a try.... Win/Mac/Linux version

 

In the same time, take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_space_flight_simulator_games ... a huge list of all who have existed, all who exist and all who will exist...

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December 31, 2008 9:23:10 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I always looked for a space sim game that would let me play a ship like the big ones found in battlefleet gothic. I think I will keep looking until the day I die. Homeworld with the mobile starting ship felt like half-way there.

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December 31, 2008 10:58:06 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

It depends, if you're looking for a more open gamestyle like the X-series

Freelancer isn't bad, if a bit old.

Darkstar One, also decent, from back in 06,

For more action-pased, scripted, less open games, I have never found anything that measures up the the style and of the old Star Wars X-Wing/Tie Fighter/X-Wing Alliance run god, if they'd actually bother to remake those. The graphics aren't great, but the gameplay still can hold my attention for hours on end.

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December 31, 2008 12:04:56 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

It amazes me that publishers of pc games dont grab some of the best known franchises and make a ton of money. Who would not buy a new wing commander, tie fighter, etc......

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December 31, 2008 9:57:17 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

X3 terran conflict allow you to have mariens to be trained and used to board anc capture ships.  The thing is that even though if there is a game that does a perfect simulation of a starship, you don't feel like much in command of a crew because you will still be responsbile for piloting the ship within the game and you don't really have to worry about the engines, med bay, etc.  Because your AI crew mate usually takes care of it.   I think the closest idea you get is the Battlecruiser/Universal combat series.  But then again, i think it might be better if you have some sort of like a starship sims aka simcity type kind of game, where you have to run a starship and having to keep your crew happy.  If that is a focus, it might be easier to pull it off.  Like i said, as a player, you won't be able to concentrate on two different things at the same time if you have a game that does both SimCity like style game play and X3 Terran conflict.  

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December 31, 2008 10:15:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Ive played X3 and i didnt like it at all. I had bad graphics, difficult controls, and a very complicated HUD.

If you really dig the space fighter genre, try out Freelancer. It was made in 2003 and i had a really fun time playin it. The space scenery is really cool and the controls are simple to grasp but with a lot of small things to make it great (countermeasures, missles, lasers, turrets, thrusters, and tons of wicked accents ). It even has a multiplayer just like battlenet for diablo 2 so its even more fun.

 

I totally agree and i miss the genre... but at least we got sins, eh?

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December 31, 2008 10:50:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting shibfilet,
Ive played X3 and i didnt like it at all. I had bad graphics, difficult controls, and a very complicated HUD.

If you really dig the space fighter genre, try out Freelancer. It was made in 2003 and i had a really fun time playin it.

X3's graphics are inferior to Freelancer!?!?  I suspect you tried it prior to 2.0 being released 'cs the game looks awesome.

Not sure if you can use a HOTAS with Freelancer although I found it almost impossible to pilot a ship in X3 without mine.  The biggest turn off I had from x3 was that it's so damned huge it feels as if it should be a multiplayer game. 

 

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December 31, 2008 11:01:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The biggest turnoff I had from X3 was that the game slowed to an absolute crawl when I got into combat. (That first tutorial mission), so I could never actually play it. I have it somewhere, and should try it again since I did upgrade my computer, but I dunno where the copy is.

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December 31, 2008 11:03:31 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting wbino,
It amazes me that publishers of pc games dont grab some of the best known franchises and make a ton of money. Who would not buy a new wing commander, tie fighter, etc......

Simulators NEVER repeat NEVER make tons of money, they're niche markets, especially because people interested in one type of simulator (eg Spaceship) often aren't interested in another (eg Helicopter). There are plenty of simulators out there, but they're not going to be AAA games with nice engines and shiny engines, they're going to be done by people that often have a different day job and are making a simulator because they enjoy the niche.

 

The fact that simulators don't make a lot of money is why they aren't made by large game companies any longer.

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December 31, 2008 11:17:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I might wonder about that though, with regards to things like Wing Commander. Yes, it was a simulator, but it was an iconic series. As it trailed off in the latter years, it was mostly due to game quality as much as anything. The first through third games were masterful and widely acclaimed by people, even to this day. Same with Privateer. Privateer 2 and the later WC games weren't nearly as well liked. That, and the way Ultima was being handled, kinda threw Origin into the gutter.

I did rather enjoy Privateer 2 though, just was surprised they put the game outside of the WC universe while retaining the name. I'd kill for a top-quality, professional game like that which has the amusing storylines and ease of play with the complexity still present. The X series just didn't cut it for me. I found out today that my next paycheck is going to be much larger than normal, so maybe I'll splurge on something. Might try X3:TC, but who knows.

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December 31, 2008 11:19:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Infinity, currently WIP, I would estimate a release date sometime in 2010, so dont get your hopes up for it anytime soon...

It looks like it is shaping up to be an excellent game, the engine is almost done by the looks of it (the engine is being done by a single guy!) and as of last I've seen, he has started working on modeling the Earth. While there will be some custom built solar systems (like earth's system) most will be procedurally generated. Not entirely sure of the exact figure, but I've heard theres gonna be around 100 million star systems, and will be very similar to our galaxy in composition... The game will take place entirely in our galaxy by the way. Newtonian physics, player built outposts, yada yada yada... MMO by the way. No choke points, which means no Eve style gate camping. Massive? of course, no single person could hope to see 1% of the universe, which is a good thing as far as I am concerned... space is big. Scale in Infinity will be correct (planets are thousands of kilometers across). Oh yes, and seamless player controlled landing on those procedurally generated planets.

Anyway, enough of my rambling, on to the links!

http://www.infinity-universe.com/
And heres a link to an old video demonstrating going down to a planet. If I remember correctly it is over a year old, their site was redone though so it says August 12 for anything from earlier than the new site. Since then it has only gotten better. http://www.infinity-universe.com/Infinity/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=93

As far as the genre is concerned... It WILL pick up soon. Space flight is finally coming closer to a reality in the ways it is depicted in these games. The cost of spaceflight is coming down, and in a few years commercial spaceflight will be developed enough for games based on real technologies to come about... Especially after the Google Lunar X Prize is won, I would predict interest in space will spur the development of new games about it. Just hold out a little while longer, and space titles will start pouring in.

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January 1, 2009 2:53:23 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Too bad no one would update Rules of Engagment. I had that on my Amiga and was very cool.

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January 1, 2009 3:26:19 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting verybad,



Quoting wbino,
reply 12
It amazes me that publishers of pc games dont grab some of the best known franchises and make a ton of money. Who would not buy a new wing commander, tie fighter, etc......



Simulators NEVER repeat NEVER make tons of money, they're niche markets, especially because people interested in one type of simulator (eg Spaceship) often aren't interested in another (eg Helicopter). There are plenty of simulators out there, but they're not going to be AAA games with nice engines and shiny engines, they're going to be done by people that often have a different day job and are making a simulator because they enjoy the niche.

 

The fact that simulators don't make a lot of money is why they aren't made by large game companies any longer.

Sometimes they are, though.  Ubisoft seems to be contentedly churning out its wonderful Silent Hunter sims (if only those guys would take a crack at a space sim!).  I think all it takes is someone to have an interest in a particular genre at a major studio. 

I think the biggest anchor around the space sim genre is that we haven't seen a really big hit in quite awhile, causing the pubs to forget all about it.  Also, the gaming industry has been moving in a "causal" direction for a number of years now; sims seem just too "hardcore" to be a mainstream hit (not my logic, but I suspect the logic of the publishers).  

I am hopeful all of this will change.  I think EVE has proven that a space game centered around vessel command, with more than a little complexity, can be a lucrative hit (I am often amused when I read articles by industry insiders who are still scratching their head over why EVE has proven so popular in such a "casual gaming" environment).  I mean, all of a sudden we have a bunch of similar MMOs appearing on the horizon, from Jumpgate to Infinity.  Sins has also helped by snagging all those industry awards.  I think we might see a renaissance in space sims in the near future.

Unfortunately, though, I think the renaissaince is going to continue to be centered around the fighter pilot mode of spaceship command, where even though you might be commanding a huge ship, you're still doing all the work of flying and firing weapons.  Wing Commander left just too big an impression on the industry.    Like I said initially, I want to be able to stand on a bridge and see my crew working their stations.  I want to give the orders and manage the crew.  Again, basically, Silent Hunter in space.  Alas, I think that type of game is going to be a long time coming as I know of no game that is embracing such an idea since Bridge Commander and that Klingon Academy from many years ago. 

 

 

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January 1, 2009 3:43:14 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Crusader Scott: I too was looking for what you are looking for. I can recommend Klingon Academy if you can get it. I managed to get a full version sent to me by a mate on a forum like this.

Here are some newer games that do "space combat simulation"

Starshatter: the gathering storm

This game is amazing and lets you command squadrons of capital ships or fly fighters all in a dynamic campaign or even coop missions if you wish. I highly recommend it. The latest iteration only came out a year or two ago. The Battlestar Galactica mod is simply amazing if u like commanding battlestars and flying viper fighters.

You get to choose what your starships target, what alert status your fighters go to, how they patrol, how damage control is taken care of, what weapons to use etc

http://www.starshatter.com/screenshots.htm

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident:

Another classic that still looks awesome graphically. It again allows you to command cap ships, target enemy subsystems/damage control etc

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nexus_the_jupiter_incident

EVE: This game is junk. Its just an excuse for stats chasing and gear collecting in space. Exactly the same as WOW.

I thought this game looked good but played like Freelancer. Not a starship sim but a trading "compulsive collecting/level up game

Angels Fall First: The Second Antarean War

MMORTS BETA2 jan 11 Dunno how this will turn out but looks interesting.

http://www.aff2aw.com/forum/

Love to know what u think of my suggestions

Also if you want a real starship simulator "like a NASA grade one" try orbitor. My friends have taken this real physics sim into geosynchronis orbit and then slingshoted to land on Venus and stuff like that.

http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/

P.S. A real life ship fleet simulator I am playing at the moment (ww1 naval) is called Jutland.

http://www.stormeaglestudios.com/public/html/se_jutland_v2.html

 

BONUS: Babylon 5 I've found her - real newtonian physics in a space fighter campaign

http://ifh.babylonfive.ru/

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January 1, 2009 3:52:36 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Thanks for the list!  I'll check them out!

I never tried it, but there is another game called Dark Horizon, but I think that is more of a fighter type game...again. 

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January 1, 2009 5:26:21 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I forgot about starship Shatter.  I have it on my comp but never have the time to boot it up.  I know it is not an easy sim to learn.  I did not know the MMO Infinity game is going to be taking off anytime soon.  Interesting to see whether it will drag the Eve player away.  There were a lot of discussion awhile ago whether to make the X-series a MMO, the conclusion on their english forum was a majority "no" because of what others have seen from Eve Online.  But I agree that probably Ubisoft should do a starship sim given the fact that they manage to do Silent hunter 3 and 4 so well.

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January 1, 2009 6:21:14 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

What I really want is a game similar to Klingon Academy thats more like starshatter with a nice large Star Destroyer bridge to stroll around. This would give the feeling of a large ship in combat. Starshatter can do this as it can give cap ships cockpits if you wish. But have not seen them yet. Only used the basic capital ship hud.

Be aware also that the starshatter demo is very old iirc. The updated Gathering Storm has much improved graphics.

A pic of Starshatter: the gathering storm for ya: Starshatter has a dynamic campaign that enables you to do amazing things with your fleet. Your actions affect the outcome of the war and the game knows when you lose cap ships that they affect the war. When in game you can jump ships in and out of solar systems and to planets whenever you like. You can send probes to look for the enemy, protect convoys, starbases etc etc. Each time you finish a mission the game generates new missions based on how the war is going and what sectors are affected. I was impressed that the game did not limit me if I wanted to run, I fired up the hyperdrives and got the hell out of dodge. I could jump back in whenever I wanted.

The only thing with this game is that time compression is not fast enough, you have to know your stuff and be alert and aware of the situation surrounding you to find the enemy fast in some missions. In other word its an excellent game that does not give much to noobs so to speak.

 

A pic of NExus the jupiter incident for ya: the problem with Nexus is that the missions are scripted for the most part and multiplayer is really just deathmatch. Klingon Academy is also canned missions so these two games are similar, except KA puts you in the cockpit of a starship, nexus merely lets you manage your starships in third person.

from my fraps collection

Klingon Academy may be old but it is still very fun. A bit like playing the original XWing missions with a large starship

 

Thought I'd throw in a shot of the "ship" rather than starship fleet simulator I am playing called Jutland. This is a gem, its like total war for ww1 ships. Real Time campaign map zooms into battles and save at any time. Brilliant.

jutland by storm eagle studios

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