Notifications
Clear all

 


I use crypto.com app personally on a daily basis and its great and takes the stress out of learning crypto and the crypto debit cards are great, ask me anything on this. I will probably make a thread discussing crypto soon. REFERRAL CODE = p5mu64hcq4
 

What happened? The new Space Sims.


IronHound
(@ironhound)
Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 337
Topic starter  

I'm baffled. Maybe its just me. Maybe I'm just looking for the wrong things in space games? Or are we looking at a whole lot of hype in the last few years regarding 'space' titles and I'm just missing the point?

 

Lets just pause and go back a few years. Back in ripe old 2014 or so, I thought we where about to enter a veritable GOLDEN age of space simulations. Back then, we had all sorts of wonderful titles on the way. Everything from Kerbal Space Program, to Star Citizen. Over the next few years things like Elite Dangerous, No Man's Sky, X: Rebirth. All of these, big companies, with BIG plans regarding next generation gameplay.

 

So what the hell happened?

 

Lets just do a quick run down, with some of my own personal opinions.

 

Elite Dangerous: Ok, this one achieved its original Kickstarter goal gameplay wise, and its fairly enjoyable with fun updates and some pretty interesting exploration. That being said, the singleplayer gameplay, with missions is severely lacking and won't hold anyone's interest. You'd have to really enjoy exploration, because the game is designed around multiplayer for that 'living' universe. Also I believe it still requires an internet connection to play.

 

Star Citizen: I havn't followed this one too closely, lots of drama, but the key point is that it started in 2014 and is still in development millions of dollars later. I can't judge it too harshly because of their ambition, but its definately taking entirely too long to keep my interest.

 

No Man's Sky: Where to begin. First, lets just ignore all of the lies and broken promises. From an absence of visible players online, to downright lies regarding animal generation (who didn't wanna see flying worms?) to a completely absent factional warfare space component. NMS is an abject failure on a basic level. Wanna explore? Ok, go mine some minerals to charge your suit. While you are doing that be sure to recharge your laser every few seconds so you can mine a resource to charge your suit, to WALK AROUND A FREAKING PLANET. The game is incredibly tedious, and the exploration is hampered by godawful game design decisions. Glad I got a refund.

 

X: Rebirth: A really horrid launch was partially alleviated by DLC and some excellent patches, but core gameplay mechanics are still pretty meh. 4.0 still has alot of weird design decisions that detract from the open world empire building fans are used too. The highways are silly, in station interactions are tedious, and most importantly of all? The empire building is much less advanced. Its certainly not what it was hyped up to be.

 

Kerbal Space Program: Really an oustanding success. One of two titles on this list that I feel achieved its initial goals, and goes above and beyond to create an enjoyable and fun, if challenging experience.

 

Limit Theory: Technically still in development, but I'd bet a copy of Elite Dangerous it won't be released in my lifetime.

 

Am I missing something? I feel like I spend more time playing indie titles and older games than the so called 'new' space sims. Freespace 2, Freelancer, X3 :TC and Oolite/Pioneer/FE2 all offer more enjoyment than most of those titles. Other than Elite and Kerbal, the space sim genre isn't doing NEARLY as well as it should be.

 

I'm just wondering how we got to this point? I havn't touched a space sim in months. Ok, Rebel Galaxy, but it wasn't a very lengthy title. I didn't put in hours like I did in Fe2 or Oolite.

 

Is it me? Did my tastes change? Or did I just get too hyped up? How do you guys feel about these titles? And did I forget any of the new BIG ones that where supposed to change space sims forever.

 


Quote
 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago
Posts: 0
 

I think that both Star Citizen & Elite Dangerous are fine. They are still doing what they set out to do.

There are plenty of smaller space games I enjoy that were possible to create because of the resurgence of interest in space games recently.


ReplyQuote
Cody
 Cody
(@cody)
Captain Registered
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1657
 

The so-called 'new golden age' of space sims ain't so golden! [rant deleted]

Oolite Naval Attaché


ReplyQuote
Bouitaz
(@bouitaz)
Senior Chief Registered
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 62
 

I feel the same way...regarding both Space Sims (Freelancer & EV Nova still rules) and Space 4X games (Space Empires IV Gold, Sword of the Stars Gold and Distant Worlds - Universe).

I hope people at least learned to never trust the hype and to never pre-order.


ReplyQuote
IronHound
(@ironhound)
Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 337
Topic starter  

I certainly learned my lesson with no man's sky. I'm glad I followed my hunch after the first reviews started pouring in. I watched a particularly lengthy stream, and after I realized the space gameplay wasn't what I thought it was (he said FACTIONAL warefare, not 'eye-candy'.) I pulled the plug on my pre-order. I got lucky.

 

I won't argue Elite Dangerous is good. It is. Its just not quite what it was hyped as. Then again I may be biased. They flat out lied during the KS about online/offline, and during the launch I had severe internet issues for a few months, so I still have negative opinions of that game. Not to mention it just isn't all that fun. The bounty hunting/missions/trading. Unless you have other players, the NPC's are pretty bleck. Now exploration is outstanding, but I dunno. I don't feel like Elite Dangerous is better than FE2 or OOlite, but I don't know why. Its very hard to describe. The singleplayer is lacking somewhere. I just don't have the verbal skills to point out where. :p


ReplyQuote
Pinback
(@pinback)
99 Star General Moderator
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 8396
 

I disagree although to call it a golden age can only be done with the benefit of hindsight, so we will have to come back to this in about ten years and see if it was.

 

But IronHounds point about the expectations of seeing some of the major developers stepping up and announcing games, never happened apart from EA mass Effect. The whole genre is still rooted in the indie and smaller Pc developers, which I would say has been to the greater benefit as it has given us the players a much greater variety of games, than we would have had from the major game developers, who tend to make games to a template.

 

Just as an example of this, back in the golden age of the 90s early noughties, when Freespace 2 was released, it was one of the best examples of a space combat game but it hardly any different from Wing Commander from a decade earlier.

 

The same can be said of  the 2003 release of FreeLancer, again it's was one of the best open ended space trading games made, but then again it was not different to the 1984 Elite.

 

This time around their has been greater push on ideas instead of just rehashing what had been done before and I for one think we are seeing one of the most exciting periods in gaming.


ReplyQuote
IronHound
(@ironhound)
Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 337
Topic starter  

Pinback I definately disagree with that view. Here's why. I define a 'Golden Age' as a period where innovation and a steady stream of like-minded games emerge. For instance, lets look back at the 3D First Person Shooter. Doom ruled the scene for several years before the 'golden-age' began. Things like Duke Nukem, Shadow Warrior, and Triad lead the way into the seminal Quakes, Unreal Tournaments, Halos, and Half-Lifes. Things like Call of Duty and Halo really pushed the genre into new and exciting directions. I would consider all of those developers triple A for the time. You had all of these exciting new ideas (gravity guns, interactive environments) and other innovations taking place before the 'cover-shooter' became a thing.

 

You even had smaller explosive scenes within the overall movement. Quake Multiplayer came out of freaking nowhere. We went from Doom's chaotic mess to what amounted to a digital competition or sport. It really changed everything for first person shooters, and lead to competitive multiplayer as we know it today. Without Quake and Doom there would be no Counter-Strike Global Offensive and its international competition.

 

So lets apply these same ideas, in evaluating space simulations. I'm going to leave out 4xes because its a weird genre to begin with. Lets look at the beginning. Elite. Things like Freelancer, Freespace 2, and Wing Commander where all evolutions on the classic idea of Elite. Elite was the Quake of its genre. A sandbox, open ended, thing where you make your fortunes however you want, from trading to mercenary work to exploration.

 

Then a few years back we hear about a bunch of new titles after a FREAKING DRAUGHT of good space sims. From big name companies. Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen, X Rebirth, No Man's Sky. I assumed I'd be playing one of these right now, instead of smaller indie titles like Starpoint Gemini or older titles like X3:TC. Not only this, but do any of these new titles innovate? You can argue Star Citizen does, but NMS doesn't do anything too differently conceptually from Noctis. Elite Dangerous has the multiplayer angle, but its not nearly as popular or appealing as I expected it to be.

 

I dunno. I just really envisioned all these great games, and its really not the case.Maybe I let myself get hyped up where you experienced older folks knew how to manage your expectations.


ReplyQuote
curlsworth
(@curlsworth)
Petty Officer Registered
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12
 

I've often wondered the same thing. I was such a fan of older space sims, but aside from KSP, nothing recent has really grabbed me. That's not to throw shade at other games. I've enjoyed some Elite Dangerous. But I think it boils down to scope.

KSP focused on a single solar system and is predominantly single player. Games like the X3 games, while covering a larger universe than KSP, are still comparatively small to many modern attempts. Arguably, that allowed them to stay focused on providing an active and full universe on a level I don't see in many of the modern space sims I see.

In the end, I believe developers are trying to stretch too far, with everyone competing to see who can make the most grandiose universe, and then not managing to make it feel alive.


ReplyQuote
Pinback
(@pinback)
99 Star General Moderator
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 8396
 

I would say that we are currently in a period of innovation where we have many games being worked on and where ideas can be seen and expanded and where developers can bounce ideas off each other as they have been doing in the FPS genre for the last 15/20 years. This has already given rise to a  greater variety of games than was ever made in the golden age of the space sims including several new types of games like the FTL like games and multi crew ship games.

 

I would also say that the games you have mentioned have all to some degree added to the basic template.

 

No Man Sky may be considered to be little more than a walking simulator but it has shown that you can have an environment with animals and plants ect and it will have a knock on effect in other games. We have already seen Star Citizen up their planet demo from a lifeless moon to a desert world and no doubt E;D will be doing some thing similar when they come to adding planets with atmospheres into the game. 

 

Even the terminal bore feast that is Elite Dangerous has added some new features, like the heat given off by the ships.

 

Star Citizen tends to be a grab bag of everything, weather it can pull it all into one coherent game is anybodies guess, but it has been the driven force which has inspired others.

 

Even X-Rebirth, well maybe as in how not to do it.

 

But at the end of the day I think you are right in that the expectations that we all had a couple of years ago have yet to be met, I know that I'M still looking for that game which will scratch my space sim itch.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago
Posts: 0
 

NO mans sky: Hype was worth it, more enjoyable then the game. the day its leaked early i watched almost all streams 🙂 its was fun, after that almost all videos/streams looks almost the same.

 

Star citizen: its development is a journey in itself, i watch almost all podcasts, star citizen bug smashers, 10 for the chairman etc, lots of fun then the game itself. if game will complete in its full sense, is hard to guess.


ReplyQuote
natansharp
(@natansharp)
Master Chief Registered
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 164
 

In my opinion it's only a matter of time.

Space sims reborned only from few years and a lot of mechanics must be refined and some completely revisited.

The most important thing is that space sims finally returned...now they can become great like in 90's.

I'm following with much interest games like everspace, cdf starfighter, squadron 42, dreadnought, that games have a more direct gameplay (dogfight oriented) and i think it's simplier to match the target for developers.


ReplyQuote
XenonS
(@xenons)
Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 399
 

Golden Age? I don't think so. The big hype of No Man Sky has produced a false expectation regarding to what we can expect from a space game: We now know that the procedural generation technique doesn't allow that much of game variety, unaware of what these games do randomly produce. So good scripting and a lot of special contents are still necessary to keep the gamers busy with a game and not making them do boring repetitive playing.

 

From the games you mention, most of them work with a very big budget: Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen are 2 of them. For the reason of copy protection, Frontier Games have chosen to make ED only playable online (there is no other serious reason for it), whereas Star Citizen is so huge in content and overall file sizes that once finished for release it can probably only be accessed from a Cloud in order to be played. The people's acceptance for this is unknown and financially risky IMO.

 

Which sort of space game would get the most success if done tomorrow? I think it will be an Indie-like game with a small budget, a game like Rebel Galaxy. It uses procedural techniques for creating the universe you play, it is a middle way from 2D and 3D making the production cheaper and it has only a minimum of video sequences and voice-overs which also cut the production cost. Yet players will find most features they expect. Such a game give the gamemakers good financial guarantees I think.

Games like Space Engineers, or Empyrion Galactic Survival have a much larger goal, but the gamemakers also have much bigger financial risks to take: what if players get bored with building features that are only a small part of the features one likes in space games? Making all features work together for one single fascinating playing experience is difficult, I have yet to see such a game...Games like the Mass Effect series are very good playing FPS, a game like Elite Dangerous or Evochron Legacy are top notch for the experience of flying a ship, but a combination of these games does not exist. Yes, the makers of The Precursors had this ambition, but the rushed-out release (a decade ago) wasn't a success, it's more a FPS game with an unfinished storyline and space contents overly simplified. Probably such 'exciting' space games are too expensive to produce even today, with too little benefits for AAA producers, out of reach for little budgets.

 

Altough a lot of space games have been produced over the past years, half of which are in beta or pre-release state (ready to play on Steam for example), I'm missing some really new playing features that would clearly expand the possibilities of a space game. What has changed are the better visuals and interesting game engines that allow to play on planetary landscapes, and in some rare cases First Person modes that were not there before. But overall, nothing exceptional, nothing revolutionary released since Elite or Frontier Elite (Elite II).

But a Golden Age of space games doesn't need a revolution, it needs a title that I'm playing for some time, I then put it in my desk, then I happily play the title again in the future. For that, the game content's appeal and possibilities must be right. It can be done I think, I have yet to find this game...

 

Maybe the newest X:Rebirth titles (Teladi Outpost and beyond with version 4.0) are the one, the game has exciting weapons to use and challenging procedures to board ships and spying jobs on space stations, and a large part of some features has been done by mod creators. I think a game like this but with a huge procedural generated galaxy, a lot of different ships to fly and a more exciting FP mode (no need to reach Star Citizen) would qualify for re-starting a Golden Age of space games, with a touch of realism like the Kerbal Space Program and a AI scripting where you don't feel that all enemies suddenly come out from a box acting the same again and again...

 

My favorites up to now? Elite II, Evochron Legacy, X:Rebirth 4.0 + DLCs

 

 

XenonS


ReplyQuote
natansharp
(@natansharp)
Master Chief Registered
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 164
 

 

Maybe the newest X:Rebirth titles (Teladi Outpost and beyond with version 4.0) are the one, the game has exciting weapons to use and challenging procedures to board ships and spying jobs on space stations, and a large part of some features has been done by mod creators. I think a game like this but with a huge procedural generated galaxy, a lot of different ships to fly and a more exciting FP mode (no need to reach Star Citizen) would qualify for re-starting a Golden Age of space games, with a touch of realism like the Kerbal Space Program and a AI scripting where you don't feel that all enemies suddenly come out from a box acting the same again and again...

 

 

A game like Rebirth with the possibility to fly in every ship and a serious campaign with a long story with even a lot of well made side quest should be the best space sim ever.

Space sims must take ideas from gdr kind of games. For example elite dangerous is a very good game but at the end it became booring since there is no story and no real quests. Now think about a game like the witcher 3 or skyrim...open world games with a lot of interesting side quests and a good main quest.

This is what i want to see in a space sim...an epic trama and a lot of action.

The other kind of space sim i'd like is the one "wing commander style"....more focused on dogfight and action....maybe everspace will be the right one.


ReplyQuote
XenonS
(@xenons)
Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 399
 

I'm a fan of the Just Cause series, they have a huge open world where you can do FP fights against a good AI, a lot of cars, planes, boats, car races, plane races...Crazy things to do...Whilst playing I sometimes wish they had included an extension to play in space, replacing their magic parachute with a magic space suit, there are certainly also crazy things to do there... IMHO these series are a major improvement of the FPS genre, exactly the one I wish to see for space games. A lot of ongoing works listed on this site are promising though, so: devs, keep going with all your original ideas

 

XenonS


ReplyQuote