Hardspace: Shipbreaker, blue collar space sim about salvage

Timer definitely is more fun after youve played a bit.

Ehh, I think you can have the best of both worlds. Why not have a message appearing on your helmet hud while you work, that says ‘New Shift starts, xxx expenses incurred’ every 15 minutes?

Well, for a start, it’s a way of gating/advancing story progress, and also a way to ensure the player is regularly in a position to upgrade their equipment and otherwise engage with the non-shipbreaking stuff.

I’m really enjoying Shipbreaker. I’ve completed about 11 ships so far. Campaign is ok. It has one really fun “mission”
The time limit and limited oxygen was off-putting at first, but I think its worth persevering with. O2 limit is easy to overcome with upgrades. In the beginning you need to stock up on tethers anyway, so grabbing more O2 isn’t too bad.
The time limit becomes fun to work with. “How much can I get done in this shift?” is the question of the day. I really like how you can continue working on ships over subsequent sessions. It takes me 3-4 periods to break a ship.
Steam forums say the 15 min sessions are good, too, because they force a progress save. It would be frustrating to almost finish a ship in unlimited and then lose it all to crash or bug.

Depressuring ships is the most challenging for me. I can’t get the atmosphere regulators and airlocks to sync up so often go the violent depressurization route. Many times I’ve been squashed inside the hull. I like that there isn’t much of a death penalty. A little money fee but no time or progress lost.

Because of all the automatic doors I always end up having to depressurize some part of the ship violently. It’s a bit annoying that you can’t stop doors from closing when you’re trying to depressurize multiple cabins. Or there’s something I haven’t figured out yet.

Clear loose objects out of the compartment with air in it, and even fixed objects too if there aren’t too may. The force of the air can sometimes rip things off walls. Use Z or X to hold on to something once you open the door. Try to not be in the pressurized side when you open things up.

This game has been getting the occasional bad review or negative comment for having “ludo-narrative dissonance”. Basically, some players feel that because they’re having fun, they can’t engage with the game’s plot about worker’s rights. They want to side with the company.

Most of this is just the usual right-wing backlash that any slightly progressive game attracts. But oddly, there’s a bit of truth to it – I think the game misses some opportunities to wed its story to the gameplay:

  • There are two currencies, dollars and company bucks. Your character is paid in dollars, and every day you see the company deduct from your pay with ridiculous fees and interest on the huge loan you were forced to accept. But you quickly learn dollars are just for show and don’t matter to the gameplay. What do matter to the player are the company bucks, which the game is totally fair about – you see clearly how to earn them, and the company never takes them away from you. It would have been more effective to tax this currency.
  • The villain gives the player access to dangerous new tools and new challenges, which is portrayed negatively. That’d be true in the real world but in a game it’s positive, you want new toys and dangers.
  • The game usually freezes whenever somebody talks to you, so you start to resent when your union coworker’s speeches because it keeps you from playing the game.

It’s weird! I like what the game is trying to do but I see some merits in the complaints.

for dumb guys like me, a simpler way to put this is “bad writing”

Yeah it’s a real $10 phrase, but I bet it packs people into your GDC talk.

I’m enjoying this quite a bit, but kind of dismayed to have it cause two blue screens of death in a day. No other game I’ve ever played has done that–my system’s usually really stable.

I’ve gotten tethers, but because they’re a limited resource, I tend to save them. I assume I’ll see more need for them later on larger ships. But what’s annoying is how often I right-click instead of left-click and use a tether accidentally. Maybe I need to dig into the control scheme and find a better button.

Only part of breaking that bugs me are the long aluminum bars that often run along the corners where two walls meet. I go to cut across one and often as not the whole long thing just disintegrates and I lose money.

Devs don’t seem to like the phrase ludo-narrative dissonance anymore (at least the vocal ones on Twitter) just because of how much it has been talked about, and how it’s turned into a kind of “cinema sins”-style way of trashing games someone doesn’t like.

But just for the record, it doesn’t exactly mean bad writing. It means when the writing or other world-building doesn’t match what the player is doing in the game. If nothing else, there are lots of other ways that writing can be bad than being dissonant. And I bet some great games can have great writing that is nevertheless pretty dissonant. It would be theoretically better if it wasn’t dissonant, but I could imagine cases where it’s not really possible to have both.

Tethers are your friend. You can buy upgrades that let you hold more at a time, and the secret is that it doesn’t cost more at the kiosk. Don’t waste time trying to drag a somewhat heavy panel away from the hull and line it up to force-push it into the processor. Slap a tether on it and keep truckin’. You’ll have to top off on oxygen/fuel and/or move on to the next day and have time to refill them.

I would second just using tethers whenever, whatever. They are really cheap compared to just about whatever you’re bringing in. A pack of tethers is how much, 18,000 credits? Each tether is worth just a few lights.

Also on disintegrating aluminium, just disintegrate it. You’re going to go insane in the larger ships trying to penny pinch everything. I used to nicely line cut air filters out from their aluminium frames, now I just vaporise the whole frame and chuck the filter into the processor.

I played 23 hours. I reached the third Act now, I got my personal ship complete and I finished today a full Gecko without wasting anything which gave me an achievement (only 6.5% of people had it).
But… I have the feeling this is it. The game isn’t throwing me any new gameplay element, I’ve seen all the ship types at this point I think?, so well, I’m thinking in uninstalling. I enjoyed this 23 hours mind you, but I don’t want to play 15 more hours of the same.

I think all you have left is to clear your debt, end your contract, and get a cutscene.

Wait, do you really have to clear up all your debt? I imagined something in the story would happen that would nullify it or whatever.

I haven’t reached this point yet, but I read that when you complete the story you get a bunch of credits that wipe out a lot of your debt – and once you’re net positive there’s an option on your computer to quit and fly off in your ship

I am at the point now where I can just punch out and finished act 3 but I want to get my Grand Master badge first. Fun times but its a shame they didn’t leave it open enough for modders to carry on with.

Oh, and @TurinTur, That’s an achievement?! How is that possible? You can’t cut anything without destroying at least a bit of it. There are 10 achievements. I have 9. I just assumed completing act 3 was the last one.

I think he means getting all goals, not literally 100% of the ship.

Oh, thanks bud. I was seriously thinking I was missing some fundamental mechanic and was playing the game wrong! Ha

My only real complaint is the unavoidable explosive decompression. It’s a cool mechanic but there is very little you can do to mitigate it. In a world with space travel and cloning we can’t pop a bubble more safely?

Oh and the story is cringey.