Space, Flying and Space Flying

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Personally I think that the reason space games have gone is because people want too much and have high expectations.

A game like X3:TC (which I played and couldn't quite get into) had really ace combat but doesn't scale the enemy NPCs with your level - so some missions you will literally piss through and others will be near impossible without an entire fleet at your disposal (not that the game will tell you that either!).

They tried adding diffiuculty to the missions but some 'hard' missions you could easily take out a M3+ ship by staying its dead zone and a 'medium' mission would have an entire fleet of xenon that would quickly kick your ass cus your wingmen are (to quote yourself) pants on head retarded!

I played X3:TC for the combat, but its very hard to make money that way - combat missions are few and far between and if you feel the urge to gun something down you need to fly around different sectors and FIND the mission - you can't just goto a military base and ASK for one.

As I started with the problem is choice - alot of people want the combat element of space games, but done badly (like grinding) takes the fun away from it and it becomes really boring really quickly.

Other people want trading - which is fine but also gets boring and slow if you need to do it all yourself (which is why X3 has 'auto traders' to do the work for you)

Some other people want to explore, but to be honest all you will see is more black stuff and planets you can never actually get close or land on. Maybe you will find a free ship floating around but generally it seems like a complete waste of time considering you may never gain anything more than a pretty pretty view.

Personally the best space game I have played in years (and it is years old) is 'Freelancer' - the combat was fun, controls were easy to use (and didn't require a degree in dogfighting or a flightstick), ships were interesting and the story was interesting enough to keep you going. The only real problem was once you had finished the story the only thing you could do is get more useless credits to buy more useless stuff for no real reason other than to say you've got it - but I guess thats just me :P


Except for the fact that you can't stall, there's no gravity, inertia governs everything, bullets would (in actuality) travel in straight line forever (same with missile that are out of fuel), and ejection either means freezing to death, or suffocation, without an escape pod. Oh, and did I forget to mentions there's no air?

What I want to see is a big ship, where you can get into your seat and fly the ship, but also get up and walk to somewhere else on the ship, eg. for repairs or to take another seat - ideally this would be a multi-player crewed ship.

I've sort of seen this in certain Halo CE mods (driver seat, gunner seat, etc), but physics issues cause you to die if the ship is moving at any appreciable speed.

What I'd like to see is a sequel to Star Control 2, by the original creators of course. They've even explicitly stated that they would like to make one, but Activision has them making license property games :(

Except for the 3-dimensional movement, Star Control 2 has all of Yathzee's requested features (plus the some of the best comedy writing in video games).

What's better, it's freeware:

Superman 64 let you fly around a city. Maybe you should give that game a try, Mr Crowshaw...?

Putting razor-sharp wit aside, do you think he's really making a space flying game?
Because I happen to really enjoy Yahtzee's earlier games and would enjoy seeing his particular twist on the genre.

Then again, I'd play anything he makes probably :P
I'd love a JRPG from his hand that is full of snide remarks and utterly purposeful and ironic cliches.

Freelancer was an awesome space flight game, even if it was just a remake of Starlancer, but whatever.

Also, has anyone looked at Freespace 2 SCP? I haven't tried it yet but it looks fun enough:

SCP is excelent. It also ports FS 1, so now both games are extremely pretty.

got to be the biggest nerd genre ever.

Yes it is have you played Star Trek Online? Just too bad there isnt any 'seemless' transitioning.

I agree there was much to be explored in Space sims, it would be awesome a remake or another secuel of: I - WAR

Why the furry hating in this article? We're not all annoying!

I liked the Battlecruiser games, by 3000AD. Everybody else seems to hate them with a violent passion.

all this made me dust off propobly the oldest remaining pc joystick, freespace 2 almost done installing

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...

But.. the PC.. the PC...

*retreats to his lonely ivory tower of pc-gaming*

Space flight games, huh? Reminds me of Freespace 2, I used to play that a lot when I was a kid. Loads of fun, I should pick it up at sometime. I see your point about space flight games being easy to make, the only recent game in that genre I can think of at the moment is Eternal Silence, which is a mod, so it can't be that hard.

(Hey, turns out I wasn't the only one thinking of Freespace. Huh.)

It's possible that it was Too Human that he was trying to get you to say nice things about...

Star Wars Battlefront 2 had some space combat. Whether you liked it or not is your opinion. I have it on the PSP (yes the PSP), and I think its fun. I found it works pretty well (even for a PSP game).

Taking the space game into the same context as the game that uses a flight/ ground gameplay hybrid mechanic, I've alwayed wanted to see a space game in which you could actually fly into the atmosphere of a planet and manually land your vehicle flight sim style on a planet that was 1:1 with earth. I guess this is why I used to spend so much time messing around in spacebuild in Garry's Mod.


Here's what I don't get with spaceship sims.

Why are all the guns on the front?

They do that in airplanes (make guns point forward) because airplanes are like sharks, they can't move back or stop moving. But not spaceships. The games that do let you turn the ship around and shoot back while moving forward expose this. Why not have missiles pointing to the back of the ship, or 360 degree rotating gun batteries? In fact, why have ships shaped like planes at all? Unless they are meant for atmospheric use as well (which would make sense, but still not explain the front-mounted weapons), it would be better to have a Tie Fighter-like design, with a rotating cockpit rather than a flat, wing-like design.

Mmmm... I just geeked out badly right there. This is what happens when you start discussing space sims.

I never said the ship had to be anything like a plane. Although I've always thought alot of ship designs looked quite goofy... or just plain phallic.

It makes sense to have forward mounted guns in a small fighter because that's the direction you're facing. It would be cool to have side and rear mounted arrays as well, but can you suggest any interface or gameplay mechanic to operate them smoothly? I think alot of us would struggle with the controls.

Actually, going back to Yahtzee's point about wanting a smooth transition from ground-to-air-to-space combat, it becomes more important that the ships are appropriately shaped to deal with atmosphere. But now you've got me thinking about how challenging you could make just flying through space if you added gravity effects, slingshots, nebulous clouds and the full physics behind trying to actually pilot your way through it all.

Have you played Freelancer?
Its an old space- rpg on the PC that, although repetative, offers some space-flight joy
might be worth a punt...

also Captain Forever... its a very simple free indie game but is seriously addictive

Man, do I miss Space Combat Sims too!

Freespace, Freespace 2, Wing Commander, Privateer, X-Wing, Tie-Fighter. Man, were those games awesome. Even Starlancer and Freelancer were great.

I don't get it. Flight sticks are still made, so what the hell happened to my Space-Fighter sims! I NEED me some dogfights in space

If Yahtzee made a space-sim, I will so go out of my way to get it!

If my opinion is worth anything (and it is), one thing that might explain the lack of flight and space exploration in recent games is that it's fucking hard to pull off right.

I mean, look at your run-of-the-mill gears-of-halo-tournament shooter. As far as level design goes, you just have to think about 2 dimensions, with the occasional ramp or drop thrown in for good measure. You can easily plot out where to pour in a shitload of enemies for maximum excitement AND fun.

Sadly, when moving into three dimensions and the flying simulation, this becomes hard. I've lost count of the many games where you're forced to fly through a fucking corridor and avoid pipes shooting out from the walls while enemies sometimes try to shoot at you.

In space, there's a distinct lack of eiffel-tower high walls for your ship to crouch behind. You also can't just zip away, because you're in plain sight and will be shot, making encounters challenging, yet entertaining, is hard in this environment. I don't think it's impossible, but it'll take a fair amount of playtesting and balancing.

If you pull it off i'll even donate 10 pounds sterling to you. Oh wait, you took down the beggars cup. :(

I think there is some truth to the matter that space flight sims fell to the wayside because of profits. FPS and online gaming really took control of the scene, and even with Star Wars returning to the big screen did little to restart the idea. Perhaps it is due for a come-back, but let's all hope it isn't due for integrating into another genre that will take all the fun out of our treasured memories.
Battlefront and the Halo series both featured a limited flavor of flight, but not many offer an open map design to allow you to fly where ever the hell you want. You either smack into an invisible boundary or are told to return to the gaming area, lest you are considered "dead". I always found that crap to be highly annoying and irritating, such as in Battlefield: Vietnam where you had access to jets, but upon launching the jet on some maps, as soon as you took to the air you were already out of bounds. WTF game? You put me in the pilot's seat of a vehicle that can break the sound barrier, but give me the smallest of runways possible to achieve flight? I say we knock down these invisible walls already and let players run rampart with the flying already. A small request, probably not what everyone is looking for, but at least some sign that devs are listening.

They did a barrel roll out of the mainstream, and went where all space flight game go to die. The PSP.

The Space Games went here:

Pick it up for 15 USD, I have and I'm loving it so far.

I personally loved space flight games back in the 90's. Has any played Colony Wars?

"Where did space games go to die?" You ask?

They went the way of everything else without good marketing: out of business. It seems there's a fine art to taking any game and promoting the hell out of it until the masses will buy it no matter what. If the game is actually shit on a stick, it doesn't matter because the games already sold. Somehow, the masses will scrounge up another $60 to fall for it all over again.

The bitterness behind the last paragraph comes from the closing Clover Studios. They made a fun, vivid, expansive game called Okami which was a daring and darling romp through Japanese mythology. It was fun. What it wasn't was "promoted." Then again, this is ever so shortly before Yahtzee went to work. (He alludes to it in an early, early review that only us old-timers remember.)

Anyway, Clover Studios should have been saved, not shut down after that game. OK, the controls on the Wii version were so shitty they deserve SOME punnishment, but no more games from this studio forever? That punishes us all.

Great. Now I can't get the image out of my head of my own balls exploding. Seriously uncomfortable.

I really enjoyed space simulators, like Tachyon: The Fringe. I too have been wondering where on earth they went.
Also, for a game that has ground to space flight, Star Wars Battlefront 3 was supposed to do just that, and may have actually been good. Too bad the company making it got closed. They were going to do non-canon stuff like make Obi-won an evil, dark-side space pirate (at least that's what he looked like in the concept art.)

The problem is of course that Bioware didn't buy the license to Freelancer before making Mass Effect 2, and added flying around in the normandy shooting stuff to the game before release.

If they'd done that, they could have removed some of their patented boring parts too, so that a second playthrough would be a fun thing to do instead of just annoying and tedious.

"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."

I laughed so fucking hard.

As did I, priceless line. Though, sadly, he failed. He's already said Sonic Unleashed is better, because he said Too Human is worse, so that must mean Sonic Unleashed IS worth some part of a damn!

Now excuse me while I go to every furry and sonic-fan site google can dig up for me, and post this all over the furry-webs.

I've wondered where on earth they've gone.

Eternal Silence, a HL2 mod sort of brings together what you're looking for. Flying spaceships one minute then boarding the enemies space station to complete an objective.

Although it is multiplayer only and from what I remember only takes place in space only. No going down to a planet and nuking some Arachnid asses.

Space games died out because caned media dose not see the merit in making a game for a niche in a niche demographic.

I mean I would kill for a shadow squadron (32X) sequel. Only you have 6 ships to chose from( 3 power based,3 speed based) with customization on all stats(speed,power shield,armor,repair,weapon power,weapon type) and starting weapons ,ect. Add you have 3 weaopn types loaded to a ship each has an over dive/charge function, there are 5 weaopn categories Missile class, Heavy gun class, Repeater class, tracking gun class(which offers auto turrets or tracking shots).(if you don't recall this is more a shooter than sim and have a set amount of power to make it through the whole game with few and far between energy rechargers)

Add in drops for 12 different weapon you can pickup and drop freely then offer multi modes of play. there are 3 main types of play modes and many sub categories. Main play modes are Fumes where you get no power drops and only a few one use fueling points between areas.Energizer where you get energy drops randomly.And unlimited where only jumping and weaopn(at a half rate) use power.

The single player and same console co op sub modes are
Free for all where you tackle zones anyway you want,the edges of zones would be jump points to move to a new zone.

Adventure plays to the story.

For co op you have the option of using 2 small ships with split stats or 1 large one, one person flys the other shoots.

Online sub modes are
Free for all and Adventure which can offer death matches with or without enemies, team death match with or without enemies.

Bomber allows for up to 6 players on one ship, one flyer 5 gunners/shileders against 5X as many targets .

Base runner where you get to build a base and layout helpful AI and gun turrets and defend the base, players or teams take turns taking out the base and or each other.

God just think about the fun to be had >< *wets self*

I also wondered where they gone.

But recently I found a lot of new spacegames (and I mean real PewPew space fighting) in production.

Black Prophecy (Oh I'm so waiting for that!)
Jump Gate Evolution
Infinity: Quest for Earth
Shattered Origins
Salvation Prophecy
Arc Nebula
Combat Simulation System
Miner Wars
Heresy War
Naumachia: Space Warfare (one of my favourite)
Starpoint Gemini
Rifted Universe


Dear Yahtzee: Have you ever played Soldat? It's great. You'd like it. Promise.

For singleplayer FS2 (including fan campaigns) and the X series are hard to beat, for multiplayer there's Allegiance (

There's just no other game that offers this awesome mix of space combat, strategy, tactics and, most of all, teamwork. The game is hard to learn but several community training programs make it easier, there are also some highres texture packs to improve the (dated) graphics).

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