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PurplePanda’s Space/Construction Game list This list is being created for anyone who or wants some DU-ish games to play between tests or until DU releases. All of these have been chosen by me through “extensive” research that I did an hour ago, as well as some personal favorite of mine. Hope you enjoy some of these games, I think some of them are definitely worth a look! (Note all reviews will be from there Steam pages) Out Now Avorion - Early Access A procedural co-op space sandbox where players can build their own space ships out of dynamically scalable blocks. Fight epic space battles, explore, mine, trade, wage wars and build your own empire to save your galaxy from being torn apart by an unknown enemy I’ve seen this game around for a little bit and although I’ve never played it myself, I find the aesthetics and mechanics look fantastic. For me it really puts into scope how big the universe is and how there is so much more out there, but less in an existential way, and more in an curious way. All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive. $22.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/445220/Avorion/ Astroneer - Fully Released Explore and reshape distant worlds! Astroneer is set during the 25th century Intergalactic Age of Discovery, where Astroneers explore the frontiers of outer space, risking their lives in harsh environments to unearth rare discoveries and unlock the mysteries of the universe. In this space sandbox adventure, players can work together to build custom bases above or below ground, create vehicles to explore a vast solar system, and use terrain to create anything they can imagine. A player’s creativity and ingenuity are the keys to thriving on exciting planetary adventures! Once again I haven’t actually played the game but I’ve seen it from time to time and the aesthetics are simply whimsical. I also watched a very interesting and entertaining documentary about it and the company’s creation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfUjl4owxTQ All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Very Positive. $29.99 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/361420/ASTRONEER/ Star Made - Early Access The ultimate space sandbox. Participate in epic fleet battles, form alliances, strive to dominate entire galaxies and harness the universe’s resources for your industrious empire or the destruction of others. Customize your experience, the universe is yours! A voxel-based 3D sandbox set in the never-ending darkness of space. Create your own ships, explore new galaxies, stars, and planets. Discover and salvage space stations, fight against pirates or opposing factions in multiplayer. Equip your ships with completely customizable weapons and conquer the galaxy. Trade and make a fortune, mass produce materials in gigantic factories. Design your very own space station. Create warp gates and network the universe at your front door. Star made is probably the game I have sunk the most hours into (although not that impressive), and I’ll admit I had a lot of fun doing it but the game has kind of stagnated. Personally, I think it is a good game but updates now rarely come out and the community is all but dead. If you enjoy playing by yourself and are able to see past some of its problems, I do believe you could have a genuinely enjoyable experience. At the very least it could be useful for prototyping ship ideas. All Reviews: Mixed Recent Reviews: Mostly Positive. $Free. Download the demo it’s the full game. https://www.star-made.org/ Interstellar Rift - Early Access Interstellar Rift is an open world Starship Simulator with an emphasis on ship construction and multi-player interaction. Players can explore and conquer the galaxy with their own custom designed and constructed a starship. Space is vast, but you won't have to face it alone, other players will be able to join your crew, and help out, or build their own rival fleet and fight you across the galaxy. I don’t own this game and have only recently learned about it but from what I’ve seen (and read) it incentivizes ship creation and allows for immense amounts of creative freedom. All Reviews: Mostly Positive Recent Reviews: Mixed. $26.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/363360/Interstellar_Rift/ FTL: Faster Than Light - Fully Released In FTL you experience the atmosphere of running a spaceship trying to save the galaxy. It's a dangerous mission, with every encounter presenting a unique challenge with multiple solutions. What will you do if a heavy missile barrage shuts down your shields? Reroute all power to the engines in an attempt to escape, power up additional weapons to blow your enemy out of the sky, or take the fight to them with a boarding party? This "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" allows you to take your ship and crew on an adventure through a randomly generated galaxy filled with glory and bitter defeat. I don’t know much about this game and I have never played it, but I know it’s a classic and that it’s a classic for a reason. Definitely worth a try if you haven't yet. All Reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive Recent Reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive. $14.50 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/212680/FTL_Faster_Than_Light/ Cosmoteer - Early Access Cosmoteer is a starship design, simulation, and battle game. Design a fleet of ships by placing individual modules including weapons, shields, engines, and hallways. Battle A.I. starships to earn bounties or test your design skills against other players. A dynamic crew and combat simulation make every design decision important and interesting. This game is one of my recent favorite, hands down. I find the way how the shipbuilding and 2D elements blend to be thoroughly enjoyable. There is a large amount of flexibility when it comes to the construction of your ships and I find it deeply satisfying when I pit two of my creation against each other, using there A.I to efficiently decimate the other party. I highly recommend this game, whether you're into pitting your creations against other peoples ships or your own (or the bounty hunter campaign). Plus there's nothing to lose, it’s free!!! (There's also a relatively large modding community). No Official Reviews. $Free (at least for now). https://cosmoteer.net/ Space Engineers - Fully Released Space Engineers is a sandbox game about engineering, construction, exploration, and survival in space and on planets. Players build space ships, space stations, planetary outposts of various sizes and use's, pilot ships and travel through space to explore planets and gather resources to survive. I don’t have much to say on this title as I have played it only on occasion, it’s a very well know game with a good single player mode. The multiplayer has been notorious for its issues but it does work to some extent (from what I’ve seen) and it was known for its insanely long alpha period, but in total it’s apparently a really good game. All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Very. $28.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/244850/Space_Engineers/ No Man’s Sky - Fully Released In No Man's Sky, every star is the light of a distant sun, each orbited by planets filled with life, and you can go to any of them you choose. Fly smoothly from deep space to planetary surfaces, with no loading screens, and no limits. In this infinite procedurally generated universe, you'll discover places and creatures that no other players have seen before - and perhaps never will again. If you know anything about this game, you know about its horrendously rough start and while I wouldn't say all the hate the company was just, after twenty hours of playing I got bored and stopped. But while some of the responses were justified, Hello Games were able to truly turn their disaster around. Although I myself have barely played it since release I intend to soon, that's because in the years No Man’s Sky has been online Hello Game has been constantly updated. If you bought this game and have never looked at it since I highly suggest you give it another chance, you may be pleasantly surprised. All Reviews: Mixed Recent Reviews: Very Positive. $84.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/275850/No_Mans_Sky/ Kerbal Space Program - Fully Released In Kerbal Space Program, take charge of the space program for the alien race known as the Kerbals. You have access to an array of parts to assemble fully-functional spacecraft that flies (or doesn’t) based on realistic aerodynamic and orbital physics. Launch your Kerbal crew into orbit and beyond (while keeping them alive) to explore moons and planets in the Kerbol solar system, constructing bases and space stations to expand the reach of your expedition. K.S.P is another game I would have to list as a favorite game, simply because it is so difficult yet so fun, in all the 40 hours I’ve played I got nowhere, but I got nowhere with style. And I think that's what's so great about it, if you do dedicate time and effort you can go somewhere, you can go to many many where’s. Whether you're a casual player that just wants to play in sandbox mode or colonies the solar system through dedication, this game deserves a look. All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive. $45.99 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/220200/Kerbal_Space_Program/ PULSAR: Lost Colony - Early Access Team up to operate an advanced starship and explore a randomized galaxy falling into chaos. Each player assumes a role aboard the ship: Captain, Pilot, Scientist, Weapons Specialist and Engineer. Coordination between your crewmembers will be essential in order to survive the perils that await you. I’ve been seeing the game on multiple sites like youtube for the past few years and it always caught my attention. I love the idea of having specialized roles and love how they have been able to recreate that ship on the frontier feel, with only yourself and your crewmates to rely on. If you like playing in friend groups, or just want to feel like you actually are controlling a ship, this game is for you. All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive. $35.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/252870/PULSAR_Lost_Colony/ Planet Nomads - Fully Released Planet Nomads is a single player sci-fi sandbox game of survival on alien planets through block-style building. You are a lone astronaut scientist crash-landing on a strangely captivating planet. Keeping your wit together and securing your basic survival needs that include food, water, and building material is the best start towards figuring out a way out of this messy situation. This game started its development around the same time as the No Man’s Sky hype and sort of faded into the background, and although production continued the product today is quite controversial. Many of the players say that the game failed due to lag, mediocre updates, and eventual boredom while many others really like the game and still support it. If your willing to give this game a chance and aren't adverse to a bit of risk it might be something to check out. All Reviews: Mixed All Reviews Mixed. $28.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/504050/Planet_Nomads/ Elite Dangerous - Fully Released Elite Dangerous is the definitive massively multiplayer space epic, bringing gaming’s original open-world adventure to the modern generation with a connected galaxy, evolving narrative and the entirety of the Milky Way re-created at its full galactic proportions. I don’t actually know much about Elite, I know it’s big, it’s pretty and it’s quite hard to get into it and enjoy it but other than that it’s up to you to investigate and research. All Reviews: Mixed Recent Reviews: Very Positive. $42.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/359320/Elite_Dangerous/ Infinfactory - Fully Released Infinifactory is a sandbox puzzle game by Zachtronics, the creators of SpaceChem and Infiniminer. Build factories that assemble products for your alien overlords, and try not to die in the process. This game is all about industry, so it would be perfect for anyone partaking in Alpha 2 to get some “practice” before or in between (I don’t know how much help it would be). Other than that, anyone who likes to create systems that work flawlessly or like to think logically might like this game. All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive. $35.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/300570/Infinifactory/ Empyrion Galactic Survival - Early Access Empyrion - Galactic Survival is a 3D open-world space sandbox survival adventure. Build powerful ships, mighty space stations and vast planetary settlements to explore, conquer or exploit a variety of different planets and discover the mysteries of Empyrion! As far as I can tell, Empyrion is a game similar to Space engineers with more customization ability for its creations. Of course, there are probably several key differences but I have not played the game and thus do not know. All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Mostly Positive. $28.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/383120/Empyrion__Galactic_Survival/ Nimbatus - Early Access Nimbatus - The Space Drone Constructor is an action-packed simulation game. Craft drones out of hundreds of different parts and explores a destructible, procedurally generated galaxy. Build autonomous drones to fight against other players' creations. Do you have what it takes to become a drone engineer? I’ve only played Nimbatus for a little bit, but from what I have played and have seen externally from the game, it is going to highly appeal to those who like using logic parts. While i is an extremely fun game without using them and I suggest you look into the game, either way, the logic parts are definitely one of its strong suites. All Reviews: Very Positive Recent Reviews: Very Positive $28.95 AU https://store.steampowered.com/app/383840/Nimbatus__The_Space_Drone_Constructor/ EVE Online - Fully Released EVE Online is a community-driven spaceship MMO where players can play free, choosing their own path from countless options. Experience space exploration, immense PvP and PvE battles, mining, industry and a thriving player economy in an ever-expanding sandbox. EVE truly is a virtual world, one that houses so many people and factions and wars it’s almost impossible to keep track of. If you're looking for a game with history and lore, legends and tales of war, and distances almost unimaginable to the human mind, then EVE is for you. Although you should note that it is extremely hard to get into and to fully immerse yourself in the culture and history, will take a lot of dedication. All Reviews: Mostly Positive Recent Reviews: Very Positive. $Free (With packs) https://store.steampowered.com/app/8500/EVE_Online/ Bonus I know we already have enough on our plate with DU, but these two are game projects that are definitely worth following in the future. I highly suggest you look into them. Starbase - https://store.steampowered.com/app/454120/Starbase/ Skywanderes - https://skywanderersgame.com/ If you have anymore good games that i missed or noticed any mistakes I've made, please notify me with a comment! ☺️
I think this is a very important game design issue that needs to be addressed and re-addressed. How to avoid the single strategy that more numbers = win. Now, there is nothing wrong with the zergling strategy - it should be as viable as the next and I don't think the game should prevent organisations from adopting it. The problem occurs when it becomes the onlycounter to itself. A game that has only one viable strategy is either broken or boring. The key is in providing variability and making combat complex enough that the difficulty in leading players into a battle becomes exponentially higher with larger and larger groups. Here are some specific features that I think would ensure that wars and battles remain dynamic. Each topic could probably have an entire thread to itself so I'll try to be brief. Friendly Fire If you accidentally shoot your guildmate, he is shot and takes no less damage than an enemy would have. Ideally, this would be implemented by making projectiles, missiles, lasers, etc actually have to travel to their target, and if they hit something else on the way, then so be it. Manual Targetting If weapons have some kind of auto-targetting feature, it should be sub-optimal and unreliable. If there is some way for weapon designers to increase auto-targetting effectiveness it should come at a large cost of compromising with damage, range, mass, etc. Bigger Means More Complex There should be nothing from stopping players building a massive mothership with thousands of players and dozens of capabilities, but piloting and maintaining such a ship should be extremely difficult, and the ship itself should have weaknesses and be very far from invulnerable. Terrain This is less of an issue on planets as there will always be hills, forests, mountains, rivers, etc, etc that make natural choke points and affect what kind of tactics will be most effective. In space it is less obvious, but equally doable. Have vast regions of space encompassing multiple star systems that are saturated by nebulae. Include dense asteroid clusters, regions of space that are more rocky, planets with immense rings. There could also be regions affected by strong gravitational fields caused by black holes or neutron stars, and many other possibilities, and they could all be intertwined and overlapping. Each of these features would have some effect on travel and/or weaponry and defences just like "normal" geographical features do. Terrain on the battlefield and on the meta-scale creates opportunities for inventive leaders to shine and take a larger force by surprise. Resource Distribution My thought on this is to avoid static, infinite, and clustered sets of resources, particularly high-end resources. If there is a portion of the map that contains a lot of one particular type of resource then this will encourage "turtling" and make the acquisition of more players unto a single organisation easier. At the same time, a perfectly even distribution means trade between regions is less profitable, perhaps even not required, so this is a tough topic. One option is to have resources be finite at their given sources, but to have sources re-spawn elsewhere in the universe keeping the meta-game dynamic and ever changing. Arms Diversity and Rock/Paper/Scissors/Lizard/Spock Something that DU already has going for it is that all ships will be designed by individual players/organisations so we should expect a lot of diversity. However, there are bound to be certain a types of weapon and defences that can be mounted. I like GalCiv's system of having weapon types lasers/missiles/projectiles and their corresponding defences shields/point defence/armour. In addition to that, adding in mines, mine sweepers, cloaking devices, stealth detection, more and less effective propulsion systems, hangars for carrier capability, and Death Star type weaponry are all elements which can be included, each with their own advantages and drawbacks not just on the battlefield but in including them in a given ship design. And that's before mentioning ground weaponry (although I'm sure there will be a lot of overlapping) and the possibility of space-ground/ground-space interaction in battles. This kind of diversity provides more opportunities for inventive leaders to do something special against a superior force. Now, with these elements I believe it becomes much more difficult to adopt a zerg strategy. A massive army/fleet necessarily requires a practical chain of command, training drills, and disciplined soldiers who have been briefed by competent commanders who have a plan and can think on their feet. The more players in the fleet, the more difficult management of it becomes and large numbers of inexperienced and undisciplined soldiers will be a liability. Knowing and understanding the terrain gives a kind of "home advantage" for smart generals, and appropriate use of a variety of different kinds of ships/weapons, or having intelligence on the enemy's new ship designs could be put to devastating use. A quick note: we tend to think of a blob as lots of little ships, but in DU a blob could be a single super-massive ship with hundreds or thousands of players on board. In this thread when I say "zerglings" I mean massive numbers of players, but not necessarily massive numbers of ships.