Docking at space stations is the spaceship equivalent of parallel parking, which is another way of saying that it fills me with terror, and I generally end up gouging my ship a little as a result. Despite that, I much prefer the ludicrous tension and precision of manual docking - a tension that appears to be alive and well in Elite: Dangerous. Alpha 3.0 has just been released to backers, accompanied by a fancy docking tutorial video in which a classy robot lady tells you how to insert your spaceship. It's a surprisingly elegant process, at least when I'm not behind the space-wheel. See it for yourself after the break.
The year is 2015. The twin capital ship combo of Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous have warped on our hard drives and PC gamers now live almost exclusively in virtual cockpits, trading and killing one another in an era of interstellar gaming bliss. Star Citizen now has a bigger budget than the British government and Elite: Dangerous is being used to train a future generation of space pilots. The space games have arrived.
Sorry, drifted off a bit there. I can't help but imagine a time when these crowdfunded monsters are finally finished and we'll be free from the teasing feed of trailers. Elite: Dangerous' latest example covers a recent multiplayer test that had backers defending capital ship from waves of enemies, and mugging asteroid harvesters in space. Mmmm, that's good space.
When we last left space opera The Mandate, this ambitious indie game was burning through its Kickstarter campaign toward a half-million dollar funding goal. To help climb that summit, developer Perihelion Interactive has released a new trailer starring David Bradley as the grizzled high admiral.
Space games are coming back. The Kickstarter success of big projects like Star Citizen have reminded everyone that there's still an audience for games set in the big black. New tech like the Oculus Rift gives us new ways to enjoy shooting lasers at other spaceships and the massive hardware leaps we've enjoyed since the glory days of X-Wing and Freespace 2 can support prettier spcace games built by smaller teams.
We've rounded up 14 of the most exciting candidates. Some are looking for funding on Kickstarter or upvotes on Greenlight, others are already out, but are still growing and being updated regularly. If you like space games, these are the ones you should be keeping an eye on right now.