What's the deal with Space Sims? (rant?)

I was just involved in a dual in X2… for the last 15 minutes I’ve been circling around this fucker… hitting him with my lasers… but not actually killing him.

He takes a shot at me and takes my shields down… no problem… they go back up… I get in tight and go for a quick shot and he hits me with his ship.

I explode. Game over.

The most annoying thing about that is that his hull was on 7% …mine was on 90%.

I’ve noticed it a lot in space games… actually I’ve noticed a few things.

First of all is I’m shooting lasers but the beams of light I’m shooting move slower than bullets. Sure - I understand that they need to be that way so that the player can see where they’re shooting but really I’m shooting light. I’ve heard it tends to move very fast.

The next is damage. If I’m shooting at someone why is it that my lasers don’t do anything except take down sheilds and then a little bit of hull? This wouldn’t be so bad if the lasers I’m shooting weren’t on a limited power source. To be honest with you I’d like to be able to go up against an enemy and kill them without prancing around for thirty minutes while waiting for their shields to go down and waiting for my weapons to power up. It’s just not fun.

I’m not sure if it’s just X2 that does this - but I wish it was taken out of the game. During the fight I’d pump my enemy full of light and he’d pop up on my video screen/radar and with the voice like Cheech Marin on helium scream at me “For the queen!”. The only thing I want to hear from my enemy during a fight is “IT BURNS OH HOW IT BURNS!” or “DAMN YOU!” and even then they’d only say that before they exploded in a ball of fire!

I’ll give another tip to the makers of the ‘X’ games - though I’m sure it will apply to other Space Sim devs. If your game doesn’t hande people very well - then pre-rendered video is great. Not FMV (unless you’ve managed to get The Walken and Sammy Jackson as actors)… just normal pre-render .avi’s is fine. The models don’t even have to be great - just a little better than ;

and not as freaky as

I don’t really want to stop playing the game though. I kind of like the trading system but the combat is really off putting. I was considering getting a copy of X3 later on down the track… but after this I’m not certain.

[ol][li]There are basically no other space sim developers left. The genre is dead.
[/li][li]I’m hard pressed to think of another space sim, apart from Battlecruiser, that’s as obtuse. I wouldn’t consider your complaints some kind of damning of the genre.

Egosoft is really the only developer making space sims these days. If you allow for tactical real time strategy titles then you could add Mithis (Nexus: The Jupiter Incident). Past that you’ve got Starshatter and a few Escape Velocity clones.

You’re getting caned cos you’re flying the crap ship. To get a good one you’ve got to have money, and to get consistent money you’ve got to maintain your trading empire, which is apparently what the game is all about when it comes down to it.

But to start your empire by building an energy factory (about 300 000) you need some initial capital, and to get that you’ve gotta truck goods for what, a few real hours? Fuuuck off. This is the point I got to and once I realised that there was no shortcut to some sort of wealth I gave up on it (I had already passed the 3rd mission when I read about flogging the 25mw shields).

I suspect that the mid game might have more empire building and maintenance than I’m keen on, too much like a management game in first person. There’s also a lot of flying around doing fucking nothing, its real nice when you’re exploring and the universe has a great cold feel to it, but sucks when you’re just trying to get some cash together to do something fun.

It’s a very uncompromising, time consuming game, in many instances unnecessarily so.

I’m up to the mission where you have to destroy mines or some such and read a plaque and Jason Statham flies off after a Furry that’s really into snakes (would they be called Scaleys). I think I might piss the missions off and just try find a way to get some money, buy a really big ship. The characters and dialog really do blow though… I actually lost some brain cells when the guy named after head gear said something like “You need to know the history of your fathers story so that you can know his side of his story”.

It’s so bad but I keep playing!

A dual what?

HAHA, whoops. I meant “duel”.

Aww I thought this would be a rant about there not being any Space Sim games.

I think the problem is the lack of new game mechanics and that is why there is such a lack of intrest. New games have polish, but no new real game mechanics.

Look at Elite II: The final frontier (Or something like that).

Now look at space sims made in the last 5 years. What do they do that Elite II didn’t do? They just look better, but the game is fudementally the same. About the only advance is multi-player, but that has mostly been an add-on. You essentailly do the same exact things you did in Elite II.

Now looking at RTS and FPS games, for comparision. Look at Westwoods Dune II and ID’s Wolfenstine (or maybe even Doom). Now look at these games today, such as RoN, AoM, BF:2, or even Planetside. HUGE differences in gameplay.

Id love to play a new Space Sim game, but really, what would they offer that is new? It will be the same shit we have always done. It is a big reason Earth and Beyond failed, it is a big reason Jumpgate (I do not want to start a holy war now) failed.

Bring a few new gameplay ideas to the table, then make a space sim, and you will make some good money.

You should play Freespace 2 instead nutsak. It has none of those problems.

Freespace 2, while a fine example of a space-shooter, is rather lacking in other certain elements which we want in our space-sims.

Freespace 2, while a fine example of a space-shooter, is rather lacking in other certain elements which we want in our space-sims.[/quote]

Oh, I realize that. It’s just funny to think that games that came after FS2 have failed to be as quality as FS2 in areas that count. Especially when we are now talking about half a decade of time.

I mean, I understand wanting a trading system and a continual world, factions etc. But there’s absolutely no excuse for any of these games to fail at the basics.

What would we add to these games beyond the standard fare of things like fighting, mining, and trading, that would really invigorate the game play?

On thing I can see that would be really cool is a major storyline that changes the galaxy as you play (in a lot of ways). However the problem with this concept is that the game has little replay value since you already know what is going to happen. Also multi-player doesn’t work well in a space-sim beyond just fighting.

Actually I take that back… how about Stellar Warrior or Stellar emperor style space-sims? Of course these would need to be much larger then 4 man games, closers to 40 to 100 people, and the game would need to persist for a month or so.

Do your battles in FS2 and your trading in Space Rangers.

If it’s done well that kind of galaxy changing story can be fun enough to have replayability. Star Control 2 is my example of the kind of thing you should aim for. Screw up or take too long to accomplish your goals and your allies start getting exterminated one by one.