As happens with all the best sandbox game, a huge and creative community has attached itself to Starbound. While the game's still in Early Access, through the use of mods you can expand it into something more varied, more vibrant, and specifically tailored to what you want it to be. Here are ten of the best mods, chosen from the many now available in Starbound's growing mod directory.
Chucklefish have been busy. Over the last couple of months, Starbound’s developers have announced sweeping changes to the game that made their name, and begun the process of relocating the majority of their international team to a new headquarters in London. The phrase ‘bedroom coder’ doesn’t quite apply to developers who have already scaled the heights of the Steam charts, but the change the team is undergoing is similar to the process that took place in the UK in the 1980s, as larger studios formed around games that started life as passion projects.
Starbound’s early access success has given Chucklefish the opportunity to become a small publisher in their own right. They’ve been working with select indies to help bring their games to an audience, and they’re currently hiring a second development team to work on a new game – a topdown pirate RPG influenced by The Legend of Zelda.
Like so many things in the Starbound, the current player progression system is a temporary measure. If the early access survival sandbox was a cyborg, its existing set of tiers and sectors would be a cardboard cut-out of an arm, with the words "add cool stuff here" written on in marker. In a new post on the Starbound blog, creator Finn "Tiy" Brice outlines what that cool stuff will eventually consist of.
There's a new Starbound patch, this one called "Enraged Koala". Rather than having anything to do with incandescent marsupials, though, this update comes with a hint of amour - bringing both Valentine's items and the a capella crooning of YouTube's Smooth McGroove. The update also improves the early access sandbox's patching system, allowing the Chucklefish team to push out new game content on an almost daily basis.
For a game still fresh into a beta launch, Starbound already rivals AAA releases with all the stuff you can do in it. It has aliens you can befriend or blow up. It has a grappling hook. It sold over a million copies in just a month. Developer Chucklefish is keeping its starry success going with frequent updates and content additions, but in a post today on the official website, creator Finn "Tiy" Brice outlines Chucklefish's broader plans to transition Starbound into a full release with more diverse progression pathways and an endgame focused on PVP and group activities.
With early access becoming more and more popular, you don't need to wait for games to be complete to start playing them. And, with mods, you don't need to wait for games to be complete before you start changing them, either. The Mass Effect Edition mod for Starbound (which is currently in early access beta) lets you play as a Turian or an Asari, gives you control of the Normandy SR-1, lets you craft some of Mass Effect's guns and armor, and even includes biotic powers.
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Starbound's update naming scheme takes the form of increasingly agitated koalas. It started back in early December with version Perturbed Koala. Less than two months later and we're already at Furious Koala. This is escalating far too quickly. Sure, Chucklefish can still patch a Seething Koala, or an Incandescent Koala, but what happens after that? Throbbing Veins Koala? Murderous Rampage Koala? Emotional Equilibrium Through Extensive Counselling And A Treatment Of Mood-Altering Drugs Koala?
Whatever the state of the 2D sandbox's future koala's, yesterday's one brings a whole heap of changes and additions. One of the fixes may ensure that things are a lot calmer in future: thanks to "massive changes to disk serialization" (no, me neither), Chucklefish will no longer need to wipe characters or ships, and are confident that worlds are safe too. In addition, players get more efficient mod distribution, as well as new biomes, monster attacks, tech, and an enforced PvP zone.
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Valve's Steam Machines are king. The Half-Life developer and Steam creator held a press conference that that everyone wanted to attend, but flipped the script when it devoted the majority of the event to its hardware partners. But even though Gabe Newell gave the briefest of briefs, some Valve-only content was still available: The company's press area included six Steam Machine prototype stations, giving the press a chance to try some popular games with the fabled Steam Controller.
Available in a playable beta version since early December, Starbound’s take on procedurally-generated exploration has at least one galactic-sized milestone to celebrate in 2014. The indie adventure game has sold over 1 million copies, according to a tweet today by developer Chucklefish Games.
Given that Starbound has both a grappling hook and the ability to create a cutesy rendition of the Morrowind theme, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's already finished. But no, those are just the most important features of a long and winding development road. In a new post on the game's official site, designer Finn "Tiy" Brice has outlined some of the things planned for future updates.
A few days ago, a stranger on Twitter half-jokingly informed me I should add "Starbound PR" to my list of credentials. I protested, of course, but the truth of the matter is that I've probably spent more time evangelizing Chucklefish's procedurally generated, sci-fi sandbox exploratory thing than I have championing Dota 2. Which is a little worrying because DotA is the game I spent a decade playing.
One of the biggest problems with Early Access - and pre-release alpha access in general - is that it's now possible to buy a game that doesn't include a grappling hook. Sure, to some extent you can be comforted by the knowledge that, as a game, the developers will eventually add a grappling hook. But what are you supposed to do before that unknown milestone? Luckily, for owners of Starbound, that question has been resolved as of today's major update. Oh, and it's also rebalanced everything in the game and added a significant amount of other new stuff.
Today is International Starbound Day, or it will be once I've finished scribbling on every calendar in the world. Chucklefish's openworldcraftingsci-fisandbox (phew) game enters public beta this very day, though you'll need to pre-order the game to be allowed in. The team are trailing this momentous occasion with a new video, which shows four-and-a-half minutes of crafting, exploring, jetpacking, dungeoneering, snowball fights and general milling about. It's lovely stuff, and it's awaiting your peepers after the break.
The developers of Terraria-ish 2D sandbox Starbound are preparing to send their game into the uncharted wilderness of beta testing. In a post made to the Starbound blog, game designer Tiy outlined the structure of the beta, which he says is "really not very far off now." And if you're guessing that this beta structure will take the form of a series of unfinished builds that'll be made available for public consumption, you wouldn't be far wrong.
Let's play Starbound, shall we? And by 'let's play' I of course mean 'Let's Play', which here means 'someone else plays while you watch'. But hey, that's better than nothing - and it's often more enjoyable than actually playing a game yourself, if you're an increasingly old and lazy type such as myself. At the Insomnia Gaming Festival, the Yogscast team did such a thing in front a live audience, playing promising indie sci-fi sandbox Starbound for around an hour in co-op. Catch it after the break.
How many biomes will Starbound have? Quite a lot, according to this teaser video for Terraria's sort of spiritual successor. Which naturally leads to a second question: when did we start referring to these things as "biomes" instead of "environments" or "terrain types"? Whatever they are, they'll be available in many shades, including snow, lava, desert and... eyeballs?
Starbound - a sort of spiritual successor to Terraria - was made available to pre-order last night, and at the time of writing it's already raised a staggering $225,000, and counting. That's the kind of money that makes monocles smash, saloon patrons stop and turn suddenly in your direction, and Donald Trump's hair to ruffle slightly, ever so slightly. The sidescrolling, sci-fi crafting sandbox can be pre-had for $15, which will give you access to the beta, the soundtrack, and of course the game (with a Steam key) when it's done. If your wallet is so flush with cash that it's beginning to affect your gait, however, you can also pay more for various Kickstarter-esque extras, including the opportunity to design an in-game hat. For $500. Damn, there goes my other monocle.