Space, Flying and Space Flying

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Space, Flying and Space Flying

Where did all the space-flight games go?

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My theory is that space games died out because they're too easy to make. As mysterious and wonderful as space is, there doesn't seem to be that much in it. Rendering a big ol' cube of bugger-all and some particle effects probably doesn't look too good on a developer's resume

My theory is that space games died out because developers were distracted by easier cash-ins such as adventure games (no longer as viable), FPS, RTS, ect.

Really, judging by how badly some of those earlier Elite games crashed and burned to bug infernos, making a space game must be hard.

I would love to see a massively multiplayer Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter. And by Massively Multiplayer I mean stop instancing the hell out of your MMORPGs.

Another good perspective to consider would be Sundog: Frozen Legacy.

Interesting article, but I'm more interested in knowing that the game developers actually took the criticism so well. You would have thought someone got annoyed at their game being called "disappointing". Proves some fanboys should really start reconsidering their attitudes.

Hahahahaha.

Jeff Combos is an awesome name.

I believe space games are too complicated. X3 is a good example.

I really liked Freelancer. That game was straightforward. thing were to explore I could rob transporters. Lots of factions and ships and good characters with a suspenseful story.

I played this game 2 times and one additional time with a hacked in alien Battleship. Good times should it pick up again.

Jeff Combos, Bill Roundhousekick, Wendy Chop... Them people is good people.

So, can we start pestering Yahtzee to push his space flight game out earlier?

(Seriously though, good luck with Unity. I couldn't wrap my mitts around it very well.)

I miss Freespace. That and X-Wing Vs. Tie fighter were two the of the best space fighters ever made.

Play FS and FS 2 and experience the awesomeness of both. Seriously. The FRED editor was just brilliant move. Best 30 bucks I ever spent on a game back when.

Poor Volition, Inc. When will you make good games again?

Xersues:
I miss Freespace. That and X-Wing Vs. Tie fighter were two the of the best space fighters ever made.

Play FS and FS 2 and experience the awesomeness of both. Seriously. The FRED editor was just brilliant move. Best 30 bucks I ever spent on a game back when.

Poor Volition, Inc. When will you make good games again?

The Wing Commander series, for me, is part of that pantheon of good space flight sims as well.

Ah Unity3d... Out of curiosity, have you ever played Jetpack Brontosaurus?

I loved Elite on the C64 as well as the first couple of Wing Commander games (and I'd wanted to give Privateer a go but my PC at the time just wouldn't run it.) I think some space-flight sims would be cool, something like Privateer where you could trade, be a pirate, or what have you. There could be an over-arching storyline, but still sandbox it if one wants to play it that way.

The first Mech Warrior game (I never played the later titles) had something like this, with the main story always waiting for you to pick it back up where you left off. And until you did you could just jump across the galaxy earning money and buying up bigger and badder mechs.

And I'm sure I've said it before but I'd LOVE to see a sequel to Crimson Skies. I loved the world it was set in and definitely have been wanting more of it (hmmm...maybe I'll fire it up on the 360 and give it a go-again.)

I plan on picking up Dark Void at some point, too. Seeing it at last year's PAX had me really wanting to be the Rocketeer beating up alien-baddies. I wish the 8-bit version was coming out on an actual cartridge instead of just the DSi-download (since I have a DSLite.) It looks like a fun visit to some classic gameplay.

I love flying in games. Not only does it give me the invigorating sense of freedom that man has envied from the moment he first glanced up from his cave to see a flock of pterodactyls sweeping past

Over/under on number of people failing to get the joke and indignantly reporting that pterodactyls died out tens of millions of years before the first men walked the earth?

I see the Elite-likes and the Wing Commander-likes as two different genres using the same theme and perspective (just like Myst is not like Half-Life). The last space combat game I remember was Starlancer (if we don't count Shattered Horizon since that has astronauts fighting, not space ships), space trade games have been a bit more common recently. I think all that's left of the straight-up space combat games now is various mods for Freespace 2. There are some on the iPhone (I got Star Rangers) but they don't seem to be nearly as good as the old ones. Space RTSes are growing in popularity (and I gobbed into that particular river with the Spring engine game THIS myself) but those aren't a substitute for space combat games.

Best of luck to you with your space game, I've been thinking about making one myself but the only engine I know much about is Spring and that doesn't really like space so all I could make was Air Raid.

They started to make freelancer 2 to xbox 360 but it got canceled

The only space flight game that looks somewhat ntresting to this generation of consols is "The Precursor" but itīs only out in russia I think

My theory is that space sims died because they couldn't fit all the commands like redirecting shield energy, changing weapons or selecting targets into a console controller, and they just give up.

Good luck trying to revive them. I would really love some more Freespace...

I often mourn the current dearth of good space sims, though I generally make a point of mentioning that there actually hasn't been a really good one since Freespace 2, since it's the greatest space sim ever and if you disagree with me you are wrong.

Xersues:
I miss Freespace. That and X-Wing Vs. Tie fighter were two the of the best space fighters ever made.

Play FS and FS 2 and experience the awesomeness of both. Seriously. The FRED editor was just brilliant move. Best 30 bucks I ever spent on a game back when.

Poor Volition, Inc. When will you make good games again?

Do you still have the game? If so, good. If not pick it up from Good Old Games for $6.

Now go here, and follow the directions. Welcome to the wonderful world of "Holy crap, there's still an active Freespace 2 community that's been dramatically overhauling the engine and graphics so that it runs on modern operating systems and looks like it could have been released last year instead of over a decade ago?!

You're welcome.

I would love to see space-sims make a come back, especially one with almost proper Newtonian physics and an IL-2 style damage system, no more health bars.

There is "Vendetta Online", a "twitch" MMO set in space, twitch means you have to aim on your own to hit the enemy.
There is also Everchron Legends, another take on the Elite/Privateer type of Space game. Pure flying-around-kill-shit type of games - Hmmm The demo of "Beyond the Red Line" comes to mind and there are of course some mods who implemented space combat "Angels Fall First" for UT3 and "Eternal Silence" for HL2, but yeah a Freespace 3 would be awesome.

Hmmm...seems Elite recently celebrated its 25th anniversary: http://elite.frontier.co.uk/

...my "fond" memories mostly consist of searching for hidden stuff and marking it on my big fold-out map.

I played the beta of the star trek mmorpg at a games convo which has the full 3d space flying fighting bit before beaming down to the surface for some 3rd person shoot-em-up.

I sucked at both due to horrid controls and we thoroughly bored.

The idea appeals to me though, that was just horridly executed.

hermes200:
My theory is that space sims died because they couldn't fit all the commands like redirecting shield energy, changing weapons or selecting targets into a console controller, and they just give up.

Good luck trying to revive them. I would really love some more Freespace...

Meh, HAWX worked fine and there's not that much difference between a 3d flight action game and a 3d space flight action game.

I've been wondering this myself, for a very long time. Eve online doesn't even count... I want my x-wing vs tie fighter back!!!

Amusingly, Star Trek Online would seem to fit what you're after, at least in theory. The actual quality and pacing of it may be arguable, but ... space game. With ground combat levels. No insta-switch between them, as far as I'm aware, although it's not inconceivable...

How is a black void more interesting than a landscape?

Tonimata:
Interesting article, but I'm more interested in knowing that the game developers actually took the criticism so well. You would have thought someone got annoyed at their game being called "disappointing". Proves some fanboys should really start reconsidering their attitudes.

Thee people were the game developers, so the major flaws Yahtzee pointed out were stuff they would agree with as it was more related to the powers that be, the budget giving out and the game having to be shorter even though it was just findig getting into the wing of things.

Maybe they'll take it constructivly.

Maybe this is why it's so fun to fly in Mario games: because Mario's "combat" (if you can call it that) is equal-parts aerial head-stomping and ground-based fistfighting.

KDR_11k:

hermes200:
My theory is that space sims died because they couldn't fit all the commands like redirecting shield energy, changing weapons or selecting targets into a console controller, and they just give up.
Good luck trying to revive them. I would really love some more Freespace...

Meh, HAWX worked fine and there's not that much difference between a 3d flight action game and a 3d space flight action game.

The posibility of making a full stop maked a lot of difference, gameplaywise, to me. Besides, space flights games have had battles against larger than life space stations, which I haven't seen in flight games (unless you count attacking bases, but it just doesn't feel the same)

:34-1:15
(What appears to be) Seemless transition between ground gameplay to space flight. *sigh* What might have been...

Agreed. Always enjoyed Tachyon: The Fringe.

Why did space flight sims die? I had this same conversation with a complete stranger some time ago. An easy explaination is that proper sci-fi contains too many complicated themes, far removed from modern life, to commanded a mass market appeal. Take Firefly; a piece of excellent screenplay whose success never matched its quality. The most successful stuff has gotten around this by cutting out the difficult stuff and keeping Sci-Fi in the simplistic mould of US contemporary military culture; Macho space marines, evil aliens, awesome humans. For reference see Halo, Gears, Mass Effect, Resistance, Killzone.

Not the whole explaination, but certainly part of it.

"Ohhh. I see your plan. You're trying to make me say something nice about Sonic Unleashed so you can quote it out of context on forums full of oblivious furry-loving dickbiscuits still manfully trying to convince themselves that Sonic is worth a damn."

BEST LINE EVER!
I laughed so fucking hard.

Also, i always liked "Descent: Freespace - The great War", also known as "Conflict: Freespace"

Altho it has crude grafics, the story had nice parts to it and you could choose the loadout of you and your squadmates, as well as their ships, before each mission. Also it was always an epic moment when you finally took down that fucking huge Battleship, after destroying almost all of itīs subsystems, so it cannot effectively fight back and shoot your bombs.
Also it had a nice system of managing the energy supply of your ships systems...
When you are tailed by 5 enemy fighters, or are approching a battleship, giving the shields more energy and transferring the most energy to the most vunerable side (front, back, left or right sides respectivly) with the arrowkeys had a nice feeling of "fuck my shields gonna blow soon! I gotta do something!" which was usually when i put all left over energy into the engines, did a U-turn and blew a multi-warhead missile up their ass XD

the main reason i love your reviews and writing is that you have some of the most bizarre and funniest metaphors, seriously where do you come up this stuff?

Not sure if Global Agenda fits your description, but I'm looking forward to whenever you're reviewing it. Its like Team Fortress 2, with jet-packs and more customisation. (mostly cosmetic)

I know you don't like MMORPGs very much, Yahtzee, but you might find Star Trek online to be a little more to your taste than EVE Online was - you can progress just fine going solo, but if you do join up with a group, the gameplay scales pretty well too. More importantly to your article today - the combat is much more fly-around and blow-stuff-up-y than Eve Online is. Specifically, you have more control over your weapons and how your ship maneuvers.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
You're trying to make me say something nice about Sonic Unleashed so you can quote it out of context on forums full of oblivious furry-loving dickbiscuits still manfully trying to convince themselves that Sonic is worth a damn.

If I were sitting in a chair, I might just have fallen out of it laughing. Alas, that experience will be one I'll have to miss.

Also, I share your feelings on space games. I still have fond memories of stuff like Conflict: Freespace 1&2.

"Dive dive dive! Hit your burners pilot!"

I think a big reason why the Space Flight Sim died out was the rise of the console and gamepad and the decline of the PC joystick. Games like X-Wing and TIE fighter gave way to games like Crimson Skies and the Star Wars: Starfighter series.

If you look at all of the old school Military flight sim games you needed nearly a full keyboard to make it work in addition to a Joystick. It also didn't help that gamers generally don't want to buy Steel Battalion-like joysticks and think landing on an airstrip is too aggravating.

I love spaceflight sim games, even the only where you had to go trade stuff on occasion. What's annoyed me though is that most of the games I'd be interested are MMOs now.

Options:

City of Heroes, you can have characters with Flight which can be pretty fun in and of itself, although the warehouse thing gets old quick.

Champions Online - See city of heroes although prettier, more flexible but it has some content issues.

Star Trek Online - Starship combat is great fun, ground combat is... serviceable. The game is new so it's still have some issues to be worked out.

Jumpgate - Elite as MMO, they're planning on releasing a sequel but who knows when that will be. The original is a little dated but it looks more Wing Commander/Elite and less like EVE.

If you can find it there's a game called Tachyon: The Fringe which came out some time around 2000-2002 or so. It had no joystick support which is why I passed on it, but it did have Bruce Campbell as the player voice.

One genre I miss was the "Colonize the Solar System" games, where it was less about building a Star Wars-like space empire and more about how to colonize the Moon, Mars, and the rest of the Solar System. I heard NASA is working on an MMO though, if the budget for it hasn't gotten hacked to pieces.

I think someone should make an updated 3-D version of Abadox from the NES.

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