They call it…transmedia…or something like that. Defiance is both a TV show set to air in April, and a MMO from Trion, also set to launch in April. The conceit is that there will be intermingling between the two; you’ll see something happen on the show, and you might hear of it, or see it’s repercussions, in the game…and vice versa.
That’s potentially heavy stuff. I don’t watch a lot of TV — right now, it’s Downton Abbey and Continuum, in a weird juxtaposition – but when SyFy puts it’s mind to it, it makes some good series (Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13). I’ve seen previews and behind the scenes shorts on the show which looked good, and found that Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape) is producing, and is scored by Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica)! Sadly, sci fi has been hit or miss these days. Remember Terra Nova? I wish I didn’t. But Defiance is produced and is airing on a channel that claims to be devoted to science fiction — Terrsharktoanchulacuda notwithstanding.
And then there’s the game, which I can say nothing about because of a silly NDA. It’s a pay once, play forever model, though, so no subscription which is something I heartily endorse. I had a lot of fun during the past weekend, and have decided to temper my future participation, lest I burn out like I did…with RIFT.
The real interest is that this is looking to be an avalanche of Defiance. It’s more than just lunchboxes and action figures (which may or may not happen, I dunno) because it’s something that’s ongoing (the game) while you wait for the next installment (the show). You never really have to leave the world of Defiance if you don’t want to (and that’s a question that will be answered once the game and show launch).
Will we be suffocated by Defiance, or will we be addicted? In keeping with the theme…tune in next time!
If I remember correctly, we played a good amount of Tribes back in the day. Although FPSesseses aren’t my preferred genre, Tribes was more arcade-y then what we’re seeing today, with the RPGness crammed into places where it really doesn’t fit, which leads to stat-mongering and progressive unlocks and maybe some dust-up over selling said unlocks to new players. We really haven’t had a good just-jump-in-and-kick-ass online shooter for a while. Now it seems we’re going to get buried by them, and one of them is Tribes: Ascend from Hi-Res Studios, the people who brought us another online shooter, Global Agenda.
Tribes: Ascend appears to be a pretty good option for scratching that quick-combat itch. Technically, it’s as silly or as serious as you want it to be: my first public match last night was on a huge map, team deathmatch, and everyone was just jumping everywhere. I had one kill and one assist, and that was actually more then I had expected, given the chaos. Of course, I expect that the mechanics from the original Tribes are still there: the turret placement strategies, the vehicles, and most importantly, the commander role which allows one player to see the action on an overhead map, and to direct his or her team members to where they’re needed the most. But that all depends on the group you’re with. Simple PUG matches will probably be a free-for-all like mine last night; the more involved capture-the-base maps will undoubtedly require more teamwork and organization, and a willingness to listen to the commander.
Tribes: Ascend also has some interesting errata this time around. Naturally, as a free to play game, there’s a cash shop which allows you to unlock different armor sets, XP boosts, and other kinds of stuff you’d expect for a Modern Game of that financial persuasion. Even more interesting is that it seems like Hi-Res is going to offer some kind of bespoke server rental. One of the cool things about Games of Yore was that you could operate your own server for your own friends and outside the obnoxiousness of the general public, but you had to host that on a machine in your own house or pay a hosting provider for it. I guess Hi-Res is cleaving closely to the old school vibe by offering their own hosting for people who want to keep their community intimate, which is something I applaud. It’s a service that’s not active yet, and no word that I have seen on the pricing for that.
And, as always, I’m Scopique in-game. I can’t promise accuracy, but I’m a pro at taking one for the team.
I’ve got to restrain myself here, lest I pop a blood vessel, but Minefold.com is about as amazing a construct as Minecraft itself.
Pete of Dragonchasers fame uncovered this and posted it to G+. I host a small server in my home for my daughter and her friends to play on, and it works well because we can re-build or trash the world as we see fit. We’re running Bukkit, and I’ve tried some mods but for the most part they’re content to just build their own little world. But the machine is ancient, and doesn’t run all that well. Plus keeping up with Bukkit updates when the client updates results in a flurry of “is the server updated yet” pestering. I looked into hosting, but the cost was either astronomical, or the procedures were very convoluted for hosting on something like Amazon’s EC platform.
So enter Minefold, the best idea I never thought of. It uses Amazon’s system, and has a fully functional world management front end. You sign up (using your Minecraft username so it recognizes you as the account holder) and can create a new world or upload your own (MCEdit fans). You can run it peaceful or with enemies, on survival or creative. Once it’s live, you can invite friends and play on a nice, hosted Minecraft world.
“Hold the phone!” you say, if people actually still said that. “How can this be? And why I am talking to a blog?” Well, here’s the catch(s).
- All accounts have one world, so make it count.
- A free account can play for 10 hours per month. So make those count.
- You can be a “pro” member for $5 per month, billed in three different, three month increments (three, six, or twelve months).
- Pro members can play for unlimited time, and can be members of unlimited worlds.
- Each pro member pays only for himself. You don’t need to collect money from leeches to pay for your hosting.
Once you’re a member of any stripe, you can petition a world to become a member. How do you find worlds? With their handy-dandy MF’n ass-kickin’ world browser, that’s how! If you’re in a creative funk, you can even find a super sweet world (might I suggest…) and clone it to your account. Aquila is just begging for iConomy…
…but the downside is that they’re using the Notchian server – so there’s no plugins at this time. They claim that they will be supporting Bukkit, and with the Bukkit development going over to Mojang, I would expect this to open up a lot of possibilities in the future. The only other downside (although it’s like complaining that your caviar is too…caviar-y) is that I’ll need to pay $30 for my account, and for my daughter. But that’s $10 per month, technically…I spend more on a single MMO, so my bitching is purely academic.
I stopped working with Minecraft a while ago, but having this opportunity to create a world and to have other people in it for a low, low fee is really a no-brainer. Even for the ultra-casual, a free account can mean that someone can jump in and test out the service and any worlds of friends to see if they want to commit to a full subscription. I think this is a great deal, and I hope things pan out for Minefold.
I occasionally check out what Steam has going on, which usually results in waking up several hours later surrounded by receipts for games I have no memory of buying. I suspect at some point there will be no more games to buy, and I’ll finally be out of the woods…which is like saying that some day Charlie Sheen will kick his drug habit because there’ll be no more cocaine left, but that’s not the point of this post (sorry if you came here looking for “Charlie Sheen Coke Habit”).
The last item on Steam’s banner rotation was Evochron Mercenary, a space flight/combat/trading/mining/kitchen sink sim. I took it as a portent, since just the other day one of my friends had mentioned the need for another Freelancer. After looking over the feature set to EM, I downloaded the demo and took it for a spin.
The first thing that was set spinning was my head. As I may have mentioned here or in other places, I’m drawn to complex, in-depth strategy and simulation games, but I rarely have the time or patience to sit down and learn or to play them. EM was an exception. I stuck around through 75% of the continuous tutorial (it can be had in pieces as well) before I shut it down and figured the best learning experience is in dying on my own.
EM is a free-form sandbox space sim. You can pick up missions from the station to earn money, or you can trade goods from port to port, or mine, or tackle pirates, or customize your ship, or build space stations, or land on planets, or find hidden areas of the universe, or just drive yourself insane trying to keep all of this straight in the face of a control scheme that would make the space shuttle interface look like an iPhone. Really, to start, you just need to know how to move, how to jump, and how not to crash into things like stations…or planets. Everything else can be had in time, as time allows.
The thing that might really sell me is the multiplayer aspect. We played a heck of a lot of Freelancer back in the day, running a local server 24/7 just for our local group, getting together to run missions and goof around. There was no driving impetus pushing us forward, except to blow up pirates and make a lot of cash. But we had fun, and a certain kind of fun that we haven’t been able to find in this “advanced” age of massive multiplayer servers or tea-bagging spawn campers. EM may allow us to have that kind of fun once more, but with the feature-horsepower that a lag of several years can provide. While EM offers much of the same types of gameplay that Freelancer offered, it seems to move things along by providing Newtonian physics-based movement, ship customization, and even the ability to reap benefits from controlling a star system or building a space station.
I’m not convinced that this is the kind of game that can be enjoyed for an extended period of time alone, since it doesn’t seem to have much of a central narrative outside of “go out and do stuff”. The server is limited to 35 players (the server is downloadable and you can run a personal edition for you and your community) which is gated by the horsepower of the machine it runs on, so we’re not talking MMO-scale here, or even a greater community. You won’t be playing with strangers, unless you plan on operating a server farm on some 24/7 high end hardware. That means that the potential long term enjoyment of this game may lie in the throwback intimacy of the early days when we had to run our own servers that were limited in access and were only fun when everyone (all handful of them) were online at the same time.
That’s not a slam on EM, because this kind of private universe is just what we’ve been asking for. The real shocker is that the developer is a one man shop. This dude must be some kind of world-crushing super genius in order to keep pumping out games in this series, alone, and each with increasing depth. I think that fact alone means that EM is one indie game I can get behind, because I enjoy it, it’s my cup of tea, the price is comfortable ($25), and an update on the EM site hints at upcoming improvements that sound even better than what we have now: better visuals, the ability to move around on the planet surface, and more.
There’s a demo available on the EM site, although not through Steam, so if you have any interest in sandbox space sims, give it a shot. The demo allows you access to everything the universe has to offer for 90 minutes, which was long enough to let me blow myself up a few times, tackle several missions, upgrade my ship, and learn some of the finer points of interstellar navigation.
Skylanders is available though two possible avenues: the console (or PC-specific version), and the online multiplayer Flash version. When you buy the starter kit, you have to choose a platform (Xbox, Wii, PS3, 3DS, or PC) and you get the three characters, the portal, and the game. However, you can visit the Universe and play the online version even if you don’t have the physical goods, at least for a while (I suspect they expire the trial characters they lend you).
The console version is where the meat and potatoes live. You can play single player, two players, or a battle mode. The gameplay itself is like Gauntlet, where you (and your friends) run around and destroy boxes, vases, foliage, enemies, or anything not nailed down, and pick up the loot that the ruins vomit up. When you start off, you have to endure a lot of exposition, which is good because the manual sucks. However, younger kids off their Ritalin might just want to make with the bloodbath, so give them some crayons or something to amuse them while you forge ahead. In the name of expedition, of course.
As has been written elsewhere, Activision has brought their “A” game. And by “A” game, I mean the game of “punch you in the gut and steal your wallet”. The game world is broken up into elemental zones, and the elemental type of the Skylander you’re using is enhanced in a zone of like type. Also, there are locked side trials (a la Little Big Planet multiplayer challenges) that require a specific elemental type to unlock. Expensive? Hell yes! Pain in the ass? Not really, because the figures are hot-swappable. You can pick up a figure from the base and plunk down another to unlock something or to get the benefits in a specific zone. The transition is pretty quick, so you won’t end up rolling your eyes when presented with the opportunity to dot every eye or cross every tee.
As with any game of modern temperament, there’s levels-up to be had, collectables to be found, and cheevos to be unlocked. There seems to be a fair share of voiceovers, as there’s running exposition accompanying your saving of the world, including pipes provided by that ubiquitous vocal thespian Patrick Warbuton as Flynn, the balloon captain who ferries your privileged ass around from place to place.
One really cool aspect of the system is that you can purchase expansion packs which are more then just new characters. One is a pirate ship, and the other a crypt, and each comes with a character, an expansion, and a buff item. Placing the expansion on the portal opens up a new area in the map for you to play, and the buff will…well…give you a buff. I wonder if this data is on the disk with the original game, or if it’s somehow embedded in the object. Nah…must be on the disk…otherwise, that would be quite a coup for Activision’s Wizards. Right?
The console game is leveled at people in the younger age range playing with someone older, or just someone slightly older alone. Adults may find the gameplay a bit too simplistic, a la Free Realms, unless you like collecting virtual hats (which grant buffs and look appropriately silly on Spyro and friends), or just enjoy blowing stuff up and seeing the crazy puzzles the game throws at you.
The web game is a tad bit simplistic right now, but they have a “beta” sticker on the logo, so I guess that means they expect us to give ‘em a pass for it. This is where stuff gets real, though: you can hook the portal up to your PC and place your figures upon it’s milky surface to have your characters – with all their stats and loot in-tact – appear in the web game. Don’t want to clutter your pristine PC with the portal drivers they ask you to download? Supposedly you can copy a hand-written code from the console version and enter it into the web to translate the bits, a la Metroid (for those who remember Metroid). I have yet to try this, and I wonder if you lost your figure (or had it eaten by a dog) if you could transfer the data from the figure to the web, and then from the web to a new figure. Might need to ask the Skylander brain-trust about that.
The web game is basically socializing and mini-games including – you guessed it – a Skylanders version of Angry Birds (I can’t get away from those douchebags). There’s a common hub where you can rub elbows (and wings, tails and assorted beast-parts) with other players, although keeping in mind that this is technically targeted at kids, might not be worth the electrons it’s printed upon. For the privacy freaks, there was an option to make your entire online experience solitary, which is great for parents who want their child to have the full range of Skylander experiences (since we paid for em!), but without the added discomfort of having to deal with other people.
The web game is decent for those who are hopelessly addicted to Skylanders, but I can’t see it being a substitute for the console version, nor can I see it standing toe to toe with other web based games. I’d count it more on-par with Club Penguin, and somewhere below WebKinz. But the character stat transfer is pretty damn cool.
Forget College! Skylanders Is Where It’s At!
If you have younger kids (10 or below) who like video games, are good at them, and like collectable monsters, then Skylanders will certainly be right up their alley. It’ll be hard to go near a retail outlet between now and the end of the year without huge displays pushing the figurines. Considering how Target, Wal Mart and Toys ‘R Us love to do exclusives around the holidays, I’m sure we’ll see more figures rolling out that will have you hitting all of the nightmare sales after Thanksgiving to find.
If you’re and older kid (which includes adults) and you’re enamored by the novelty, then you might get more of a kick out of simply collecting the sturdy, well made characters and the technology behind it all then you will from the gameplay. But if you have small children or siblings, then I think you could do much worse then to pick up this season’s must-have toy-slash-video game.
Shots from the official site, showing the console/PC version
Screenshots from the web game
It’s flu shot season up here in New England (and probably elsewhere as well). I usually get a flu shot because I’m a hypochondriac, the shots are free at work, and we get a lollipop (I won’t turn down free lollipops, even as a bribe for stabbing me with a needle). The flu goes around each and every year, almost like clockwork. In related news, this month’s latest popular game seems to be Glitch, a…uh…it’s like…the…game where you…do…stuff. Yeah, that pretty much describes it.
Actually, it’s been generally described as something that a lot of people – myself included – don’t “get”, as in understand. Really, there’s not much to understand…so long as you’re under the influence of a controlled substance. The backstory is that you’re a figment of imagination within the shared consciousness of a community of giants. You inhabit a semi-diverse landscape alongside spirits who act as vendors, plant life you can nurture and harvest, and animals you can molest (more on that later). I think that the comprehension disconnect stems from the fact that there’s no “goals” per se; it’s a social sandbox game, where the goals are the ones you set for yourself. While it’s actually most comparable to EVE Online, the presentation is different to the point where it initially overrides any recognition as such.
You can learn skills which are trained in real time (a la EVE Online) and which have many levels which impart different opportunities to act in the world. For example, you can – ahem – massage butterflies that you meet. This makes them receptive to your advances…to milk them. Normally you need (sigh) lotion to perform this massage, but with my Animal Kinship, level 5, I can assault these creatures without needing the lotion (and you get an achievement, “Happy Endings For All” for completing a massage-based mission).
You get missions from your guide, a stone….Wait. I need to lay out a PSA here:
This is not a kids game, despite the appearance. While I’m sure a lot of the jokes will go over a kid’s head, it’s best not to put these ideas into their heads in the first place. Back to the story…
…So yeah. A stone…get it? Complete with stoner vernacular. He tracks your skills, but also gives you occasional missions to do. These seem to be partly random, partly context sensitive. The interesting thing is that some missions require him to teleport you to different locations (the firefly mission was particularly amusing).
There’s also housing, material harvesting, and crafting of different sorts. I haven’t gotten far enough to craft, but I did have a low-level house. I sold it to save up for a better house.
So what’s the pull? “Exploration” amounts to wandering from street to street, region to region, and finding how to jump up on stuff to collect mood, XP and currant (currency) items. Aside from that, I don’t see where “exploration” comes into it, unless you’re talking about simply having visited as many streets as possible. Part of the charm, though, is the totally off-the-wall things you get to experience. Chicken squeezing, butterfly massaging, tree petting, stoner stones, yoga frogs, wacky missions (drink 12 beers. Yes, that’s a thing). I think it’s the potential to actually discover a new part of the game you didn’t know existed that’s driving me to play, now that I’ve made the comforting peace with what the game is. That is exploration to me, and why I will avoid the inevitable Glitch guides and wikis that I’m sure are springing up as I write this.
If you’re all about killing things, then Glitch won’t do anything for you because there’s no killing. If you’re into skilling up, working together, wandering around for achievements and XP, house buying and furnishing, and, of course, avatar dress-up, then Glitch will certainly appeal to you. It also runs in a browser, so you can play it on almost any system. It remains to be seen if it has staying power beyond the initial “whoo hoo!” phase, though.
I’d like to embed this video here to, you know, force you to sit here on my site while you watched, but for some reason I can’t get Livestream to actually embed in a post. So here’s the link for those who missed my late-night Tweet yesterday:
(And if you see the video below, great! If not…well, I’ll keep at it)
If we are lazy and resistant to being social in MMOs (the path of least effort, etc.), is it the game’s/devs’ responsibility to encourage — or even force — us to do so?
This has always been a pet peeve of mine. As a long time soloist, I admit that I’m not generally a social person around people I don’t know, especially in situations where I’m expected to do something. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate grouping and socializing, but not as a replacement for my soloist ways. After all, I’m playing for my own enjoyment, not as employment, and not for the benefit of others.
So the opinion that the only reason why people should play an MMO is for the social aspect is one that’s never sat well with me. I have been able to enjoy MMOs for years, primarily as a soloist, which in my mind makes the argument moot. Still, people persist with this asanine idea that if you’re not chatting up a storm, jumping from PUG to PUG, or signing up with a guild on day one, you have no business in the MMO genre.
The usual avenue of attack usually comes in the form of “if you’re not going to [socialize], go play a single player game”. Unmitigated bullshit, and here’s why:
MMOs offer something DIFFERENT then single player games. The two are NOT mutually exclusive, nor are they divided be a social/not social partition.
Single player games control you. Look at Mass Effect. It gives the illusion of freedom because you can choose the order in which you take your missions, but you’re really dealing with a hub location (the Normandy) which serves as a gateway to very scripted missions. ME tells a good story, but doesn’t really give you a lot of authentic choice. You’re still bound to the Normandy, or the mission locations that you choose. When I want a story to immerse myself in where I have absolute control over myself and my party, I’ll go with a single player game.
MMOs — even the most theme-parked — are more lenient because you can choose to quest or not quest. You can craft or not craft. You can explore or not explore. You CAN socialize, or you can solo. You do give up some of the single player advantages like immersive storylines, but you do get options, and a certain degree of freedom that you don’t get from a single player RPG.
Add to this the patches and changes and expansions that add more areas, more content and more features and you’ve got a living product. Sure, a lot of single player RPGs get DLC and sequels, but at a certain point (usually within a year of release), the single player game is left in a specific state and will not change any further. Healthy MMOs change over the course of years, for better or worse, but the game you get at launch is never the game you’ll get when the servers finally shut down (except, you know, APB, Auto Assault, or Earth & Beyond).
As promised, we took a spin with the demo of Space Cruiser Artemis last night. We recorded it, sent it to the developer, and scored a full copy. Here’s the recording we made. Further impressions follow after the video.
SCA is certainly ambitious. It really does something that other PC games haven’t really tried to do, as far as I know, which is synchronous management of a single experience through different roles. It’s a fine distinction; APB allowed one person to drive a car while others rode inside, but everyone “saw” the same thing. With SCA, each player technically sees his or her own station, which has different functionality that affects everyone’s experience.
The basic premise is that your lone starship Artemis is tasked with keeping the various space stations safe from the marauding enemies. The Captain must track these enemies on long range and tactical scanners. He then gives a heading and speed (impulse or warp) to the helm to intercept. As the ship closes on the targets, the order must be given to raise shields and arm the phasers, while the helm is now involved in keeping the ship in a good tactical position. Engineering must maintain power levels and assign repair crews to damaged systems while Science monitors the state of the enemies in battle. It’s basically everything you’ve ever wanted and expected in a starship bridge simulator, and that’s a great thing.
Despite the decidedly older-gen look and feel, the game could get surprisingly tense. At one point, we inadvertently aggro’d five ships, including two battlecruisers. Quick thinking by the captain, expert piloting by the helmsman, and the watchful eye of the engineer allowed us to draw the enemies away from the station and into a more manageable formation that allowed us to take them all down.
One interesting side-effect of the experience was how easy it was to slip into full-on geek mode with this. The captain has a lot of responsibility to make the important decisions, and it was a responsibility that the acting captain took quite seriously. It was also amusing to find ourselves jumping into unabashed Star Trek roles, complete with the “aye Captain” and “bring us about to heading three-seven-zero” lingo.
There are some aspects that we’d like to see improve, however. The UI could use a polish. Some stations don’t scale well, even as low as 1025×768. To be honest, though, this is not a game that would benefit from a super-slick UI. Each station presents only a sub-set of the overall picture, and the minimalistic design works amazingly well. I’d like to see stations like helm and tactical fill more of the screen, though, as it’s sometimes hard to differentiate enemies at the current resolution. I’m also not sure about the wisdom of allowing stations to alter the main viewport. We had a few instances of “fat fingering” the buttons when it was least desirable. The main view is really for the Captain, but the Captain isn’t supposed to interact with the system, so it’s an uncomfortable Catch-22, in my opinion. Also, some of the stations (comms and science, for example) have very limited usage, and would leave those players sitting around with little to do.
Is SCA a fun game? Heck yes. It’s unique enough to draw attention, and it’s something that I think a lot of people have been clamoring for since computers gained the ability to network. Is it worth $60? I’d have to say no, with an asterisk. The game is still in it’s infancy; it has that “tech demo” feel to it, so at this point, the sky’s the limit for what it could become. This game has huge potential, and it would be sad to see it fade into the night. I would understand if the author wanted to make a go of this through funding provided through sales, but personally, I think he would receive a lot more attention after some polish and feature additions (to his credit the official site has a requested features forum, and the author does seem dedicated to the project).
One final note for those who may consider giving this a try: this really is a same-room game. Some people have claimed to have had success over the Internet with VLAN solutions like Hamachi or LANBridger, but it’s such a geeky experience that the only way to experience this in it’s full glory is to hook a PC to a widescreen TV and arm the crew with laptops around it.
Star Trek means a lot of things to a lot of people. Some like it for it’s fairly utopian outlook on the future of humanity. Some like it for the technobabble. I don’t know that anyone is particularly keen on the fashion, but to each their own.
One really cool aspect of the universe is the way the bridge crews of the starships work together as they make their way through the galaxy. Science, engineering, security, tactical, helm and the Big Chair are all integral to the survival of the starship – and the crew. While a lot of ST games have focused on the popular characters and their interpersonal interactions, the holy grail for a lot of people is the simulation of the bridge dynamic. This isn’t an easy target to hit: you’ve got to get people to – gasp! – work together. In an age when e-peen is the goal for many gamers, having to secede personal accolades for the good of the group can be a hard sell to some. Then there’s the technical hurdles of having different systems controlling different aspects of the game. Thankfully, someone was willing to take on the task.
Meet Space Cruiser Artemis. This potential gem of a project aims to bring that missing piece of starship operation – the cooperation between individuals for the success of the mission – to your home computer. Unlike the cooperation we see in raiding or PUGs, there’s little overlap or duplication in duties here. For example, in combat, your survival depends on the crew member at the tactical station. Did you get lost while traveling? Fire the helmsman.
Although I haven’t yet tried it, the concept is sound: each player runs one single station on his or her computer. They have no idea what’s going on with other stations, since it’s the job of their compatriots to do handle those other aspects. As the tactical officer, I trust that the helmsman will get us to where we need to be, and he trusts that should we run into trouble, I’ll blow the enemies to space-dust. In the middle of it all is the captain, who has an overview of the surroundings and is tasked with making the decisions and giving the orders: stand and fight (tactical) or run like hell (helmsman). This is really the missing piece of every Star Trek game that has ever come before (not even Bridge Commander qualifies as an exception), and it’s a long time coming, in my opinion.
The only potential downside (aside from the potential of it not working as advertised) is that the project is butt-ugly. Sure, it’s probably (hopefully) a work in progress, or maybe a technical prototype, but this is a concept that’s been so long overdue that it deserves a decent graphical interface. It’s obvious that the authors had ST in mind…the UI bears an uncanny resemblance to the LCARS system. On the other hand, the theoretical station in a starship would no doubt be very complex, and the more complex the data that must be modeled, the less easy it is to create a pleasing and effective UI. It’s a small gripe, I admit, but I think a pleasing face could help carry this more into the mainstream (Mindstrike mentioned that this could be the next Minecraft, another lo-fi darling, but SCA would need to up it’s visual game to even be considered, IMO).
There’s a demo available, and we plan on giving it a spin early next week when we have several people in the same room. The “full” version is $60 which…wait a minute, before you complete that thought: this full version apparently contains a license for up to 6 installs. Assuming a single install can morph into any station (in classic LCARS fashion), then get 5 of your friends to pony up $10 each, and the price doesn’t seem so outrageous. I’ll post again once we have hand our hands-on time.
Update: I guess it pays to read the source material, eh? You can get the game for free by downloading the demo and getting a video of your crew playing (at least 1 minute in length). Post it to YouTube and send the author a photo of your group to prove you didn’t video some random group (?). He’ll send you a free copy fo the game!