Thanks largely to Kickstarter's ability to capitalise on nostalgic desire, space combat sims are in a much healthier place than they were. From Star Citizen to Elite, the days of not pretending to be in space are nearly at an end. But if your desire for a successor to Wing Commander or X-Wing extends to aesthetics, as well as genre, then maybe you'll be interested in Wings of Saint Nazaire—a deliberately retro-styled shooter that's currently in open alpha.
Space combat sim
Elite: Dangerous, the in-progress space sim from Frontier Developments, has released an alpha build to a group of especially-committed supporters of its Kickstarter project. The buy-in for participation in this phase of the alpha process was about $325, but that hasn't stopped the developer from releasing some new and intriguing footage to perhaps rustle up a few more potential pilots.
Last month, we told you about the fourteen space games we were most excited about. Unfortunately, that list contained X Rebirth, which by all reports, has betrayed that excitement. We will mourn that loss as its dragged to the airlock and shot into the starry void. Of the remaining thirteen, Rodina is one of the biggest unknowns. Citing everything from Star Fox to Morrowind as influences, the indie space adventure lets you travel to the surface of its procedural planets without so much as a loading screen. Its creator, Brendan Anthony, has now set co-ordinates for launch, providing a release date of December 13th.
As I activated the long-range news scanner this morning, I saw the unmistakeable blip of some Star Citizen news. "Ah," I thought, "another million dollars already?" The gaps between intervals were becoming less frequent. Grimly I set out, determined to wrangle the stray news fragment, but during my approach, I realised something was wrong. This wasn't about the space game's expanding finances. It was something else entirely: a new trailer, showcasing one of the in-game ship manufacturers. Less than an hour later, I accidentally stumbled across another Star Citizen news scrap. The game had passed its $24 million funding milestone.
Someone at Egosoft is worried. They're worried that after the last X Rebirth video - a ten minute explanation of trading and mining systems - people might think that their space game isn't about explosions and fighting and a loud noise that goes "BWAAAARM". A new trailer has been deployed to clear up any possible confusion.
After a long drought, the space-flight sim is coming back into vogue. Skyjacker, a new space combat simulator from indie developer Digitilus, simulates the lives of ruthless space pirates in an open, deep-space setting. Players’ ships will be fully customizable, and each mission lets them hijack, destroy, and loot enemy vessels for parts. To expand this experience, Digitilus is returning to Kickstarter to help raise funds for development.
StarMade combines two of the more notable trends in PC gaming this year: voxels and game titles containing the word "Star". Like the similarly named Star Citizen, it aims to give the player a big chunk of space to explore, mine and fight through. But instead of incredibly detailed designs, it uses chunky, Minecraftian cubes - giving the player a set of space Lego with which to build ships and create space stations.
Hoban "Wash" Washburn's "I am a leaf on the wind" mantra became one of the most memorable lines uttered by a fictional space pilot when Alan Tudyk screamed it in the midst of Serenity's climactic space battle. It captures the essence of what it should feel like to be trapped in a tiny fighter. You're a gnat. You're a tiny bundle of matter trying to steer safe passage through a tumultuous storm of plasma and flame.
I got that feeling watching recent videos of Strike Suit Zero, an indie space shooter that hit Kickstarter last week. It puts you in a mech/fighter hybrid and throws you into intergalactic warzones full of duelling capital ships and swarms of angry fighters. I got in touch with lead designer Chris Redden to ask: can I be a leaf on the wind? Please?
Some games are just too good to die. Lucasart's classic Star Wars space sim X-Wing is one of them. A recent post on Reddit gathered together a series of mods that will let you play the old X-Wing campaign in a more recent engine, in high resolution and widescreen. We knew right away that it was time to blow the dust off a joystick and get it up and running. Here's a four step guide to getting the classic space sim working on a modern PC in full retextured glory. All you'll need is a copy of X-Wing Alliance and these four steps and you'll be locking onto Interceptors in no time.