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0.50a released: campaign mode!

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Starfarer 0.5a Preview Release

    [*:17z70w03] Campaign mode featuring one solar system: start with a small, weak frigate and work your way up to a larger ship complete with its own fleet

    [*:17z70w03] Level up your crew

    [*:17z70w03] Customize your loadout

    [*:17z70w03] Subsystem damage

    [*:17z70w03] UI and balance improvements

You can read more (and download the release) right here.

The game has just gotten a ton more interesting! The missions we all remember from previous releases are still there, but now we've got a great career mode / sandbox campaign to enjoy.

Here's a little preview of the ... preview:

You create your captain first (RPG mechanics related to your avatar are coming in a later release). After that, you'll get a random frigate, complete with a small crew, and find yourself in the middle of a solar system.

There are several factions in the solar system fighting with each other, a station that you can dock at to buy and sell ships, weapons, and other loot (as well as replenishing any dead crew). Once you're done there, you get to roam the system looking for trouble. At first, you'll need to run from larger hostile fleets (you'll move faster than they can in your frigate).

Once you find a reasonable fight, you move your ship/fleet right into their ship(s). You make a strategic decision on how you want to start the fight, communicate (optionally) with the enemy leader, then engage them in battle. The game will then turn into the familiar tactical combat interface we're used to seeing, and you'll get to use all of your weapons and systems to bring down the enemy.

If you win, you'll get some loot, some cash, and maybe even a chance to capture (via Marine boarding) damaged enemy ships. Your surviving crew will gain some experience, making them better at everything they do.

Crew skill veterancy determines how well/quickly they aim the guns, repair subsystems, and repair your damaged ships in between battles.

I really love this game.

Later on we'll get multiple star systems to explore, outposts to own, automated mining operations to set up, and a cool RPG-lite system with captain levels and officers you can hire. Among other things!

While still an alpha preview, it's already showing off some its promise. You can still get it for a mere $10, but the price will likely start increasing to a probably max of $20 within a few more months.

Apologies for the wall of text.