Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Keeping Space Combat Alive

Last response: in Video Games
Share
June 5, 2007 4:16:52 PM

It's been eight years since the last X-Wing game, and a decade since the last Wing Commander. What happened? We look at why major developers are no longer making space combat games, and what the mod community is doing to keep the genre alive.
June 5, 2007 4:42:15 PM

i'm confused as to the inclusion of wing commander for xbox 360 in the slideshow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wing_Commander_Arena

Quote:
Relation to previous Wing Commander games

Arena's gameplay differs from previous Wing Commander installments. Rather than a first person perspective used throughout the series Arena will be played from a top down perspective on a 2D plane with the third axis reserved for special maneuvers.

While some fans have been vocal about the departure from previous games the developers of Arena have designed the game with long time Wing Commander fans in mind. The producer, Sean Penney, is himself a long time fan of the franchise. [3] and that early in the development, he had tried to seek input from members of the original Wing Commander development team, such as Chris Roberts. [4]



*edit

and while i do miss the genre not having a good joystick or place to put the joystic imo makes these games less fun.

keyboard and mouse never did it for me with space sims.
June 5, 2007 5:05:07 PM

In the article I mentioned that while a new Wing Commander game is coming out, it is not the new Wing Commander game we want. I thought the screenshots would further support that point.
Related resources
June 5, 2007 6:51:57 PM

You guys forgot to mention Wing Commander Prophecy (featuring the stellar (joke) acting of Mark Hamill). That game was pretty good. Looking on Wikipedia, there was also Wing Commander: Secret Ops.

I wholeheartedly agree that there are not enough good space sims out there. When Freelancer came out I thought it might be the one, but the game ended up being pretty bland. The game that I would really like to see is another Wing Commander: Privateer game. The first one was definitely my favorite space sim of all time.
June 5, 2007 7:51:52 PM

Not sure if this deserves mention, but I did get a while ago a game called Nexus - The Jupiter Incident.

I haven't had much of a chance to play it yet :oops:  so I won't say whether it is good or not.

That BSG BtRL looks really good. I'm a big fan of the series, so I definitely hope the full game release comes soon.
June 5, 2007 8:34:49 PM

X, X2, X3 :o 

Or am i mistaken?
June 5, 2007 8:35:45 PM

X, X2, X3 :o 

Or am I mistaken?
June 6, 2007 12:14:12 AM

cmrayer-

I agree!!!! X2, X3 by Egosoft are great games. I am in my eighth or nineth game at present. Each game is somewhat different, Space Combat is alive and well!!!

Wish there was more though!

rfoote
June 6, 2007 12:14:33 AM

cmrayer-

I agree!!!! X2, X3 by Egosoft are great games. I am in my eighth or nineth game at present. Each game is somewhat different, Space Combat is alive and well!!!

Wish there was more though!

rfoote
June 6, 2007 12:35:33 AM

Quote:
X, X2, X3 :o 

Or am i mistaken?


An absolutely criminal oversight, especially considering Toms has been using the X3 Reunion benchmark for well over a year when testing it's hardware.
June 6, 2007 1:54:39 AM

I'm well aware of the X series.

The article isn't a bullet list of great space combat games, it's a look at why the big franchises aren't being published anymore.

Are the X games great? Sure.

Have they sold well enough to get the bigger publishers to look for more space combat games? No.

Just because "a" space combat game comes out and "some" people buy it does not mean the genre is alive and well. It's a niche market and I want a return to the boomtown days.

Having said that, please continue to list the great space games that have come out recently (past 5 years?) that you guys love. I'm certain there are many I've never heard of.
June 6, 2007 10:38:36 AM

It's funny that this article should come up on here as I just started to code a remake of Elite in Flash recently. My aim is to recreate the spirit of the Elite universe but in 2D, combining the trading and missions with a parallax scrolling engine that is accessible to anyone that has the flash player running in the browser. You can see how far I have got with the flight engine here if you are interested...
http://www.spectresoftware.com/db/oae/public/fs.aspx
June 6, 2007 12:08:49 PM

I'm not convinced "boomtown" is what I want though. The quality of this "niche" market has actually been pretty good - I can't remember playing a really bad space combat for a long time. If only the same could be said for FPS and RTS, where a large proportion of releases should have been drowned at birth.

The open-ended nature of the Elite-style games (X series being the prime example) means these games have a low-turnover rate compared to, say, an FPS where many players will abandon it after completing the games. As such, there is less demand for new games every few months. I wouldn't buy an X game every 3 months because they'd never get played. I've had X3 for over a year now and there's still some things I haven't done - so I'm a long way from abandoning my empire and starting on a new game - even if there was a decent competitor on the market.
June 6, 2007 1:08:22 PM

Sadly space sims seems to be a dying breed... But some survive thanks to the communities. The freespace 2 project is very nice and has been a good distraction during long evenings.

I just think it's a shame Allegiance wasn't mentioned. Originally a Microsoft project that was abandoned and handed over to the community, and in my opinion the best space sim around.

It can be found at http://www.freeallegiance.org/ , free to download and play.

PS. I am a developer of Allegiance, so I am partial. D.S.
June 6, 2007 1:29:58 PM

Space sims are a bit like flight sims, really - it's a niche genre. But as has been alluded to here, a niche genre in which pretty much 100% of the titles are of a very high quality. They have to be, in order to corner any of the niche market whatsoever... From games like X3 through Eve: Online (one might argue...), the genre is alive and well, continuing under the surface. Sure there isn't a hit every six months, but this just gives gamers more of a chance to digest the big games that these space sims tend to be.

We can all dream and hope for a better tomorrow, but right now I think the space sim genre is quite healthy, all things taken into consideration.
June 6, 2007 2:37:01 PM

Quote:
From games like X3 through Eve: Online (one might argue...), the genre is alive and well, continuing under the surface.


But they aren't combat sims in the vein of the greats like Wing Commander and X-Wing, they're much more about trading than combat... I don't know about anyone else but I want to play at being a fighter pilot, not a garbage hauler.

Dark Star One was ok...ish, but considering the polish of something like freelancer it was a massive let down, and I'm not holding out much hope for Spaceforce: Rogue Universe either.

As the article says, what we really need is a Tie Fighter 2
June 6, 2007 2:50:07 PM

Well, the bulk of the space enthusiast play eve online, its the only space game ive ever played that makes u feel like ur in space, me and my corporation travel thru a giant universe trying to pirate the over 30000 active players on the 1 server, and with over 200000 suscribers its not hard to find. It takes a month to learn the game before your not a nub anymore. This is not a simple game, it is for true enthusiast and people with a little time on their hands. Be warned, you will lose your loved ones playing this game ; )
June 6, 2007 3:30:52 PM

Quote:
Well, the bulk of the space enthusiast play eve online, its the only space game ive ever played that makes u feel like ur in space, me and my corporation travel thru a giant universe trying to pirate the over 30000 active players on the 1 server, and with over 2000000 suscribers its not hard to find. It takes a month to learn the game before your not a nub anymore. This is not a simple game, it is for true enthusiast and people with a little time on their hands. Be warned, you will lose your loved ones playing this game ; )


LMAO, the only numbers I can find anywhere list EVE hitting one hundred thousand subscribers, that's somewhat far off being 2 million, and if one hundred thousand is "the bulk" of space combat enthusiasts then I can see why no one is making space combat games anymore... not that eve IS a space combat game anyway, clicking "gun on" and then waiting 5 mins for a server to calculate the result of combat is not my idea of fun.

Calling EVE a space combat sim is like calling Chess a first person shooter.
June 6, 2007 3:39:56 PM

sorry, added an extra 0, edited it. But eve is about choice, you can either trade, industrialize, mine or pirate, sounds like you started out industrial, i wouldnt touch that with a 10 foot pole. There are more factors to combat than just clicking a gun, unless your a nub, its all about strategy, quick reflexes, good piloting skill and being aware of your surroundings, the first month is slow, but if u find a good group of guys to fly with, the adrenaline rush is unmatched by anything outside of real life
June 6, 2007 4:27:06 PM

Quote:
sorry, added an extra 0, edited it. But eve is about choice, you can either trade, industrialize, mine or pirate, sounds like you started out industrial, i wouldnt touch that with a 10 foot pole. There are more factors to combat than just clicking a gun, unless your a nub, its all about strategy, quick reflexes, good piloting skill and being aware of your surroundings, the first month is slow, but if u find a good group of guys to fly with, the adrenaline rush is unmatched by anything outside of real life


nope, I started out pure combat... the combat missions suck arse and are purely a case of training the skills to use the right equipment.
I played for around 6 months... when I say "played" I mean skilled up, I had a raven with a full set of tech 2 cruises and decent shields blah blah etc.

Combat flight sims are about feeling the joystick (fnar) in your hands and playing with skill... EVE is about having more money and time in the game to be able to use better equipment.

Seriously, if you get an adrenaline rush from EVE then you really need to get out more. From my experience, you really have to have no life and nothing better to do to get any enjoyment out of EVE, driving my mum's nissan micra is more fun, and a fairly good analogy for most of the ships in EVE.

How is EVE about having quick reflexes? Everything takes 3 years to happen. Oh look at that, I clicked shield recharge... then I clicked all my missiles to "on"... oh everything is dead... *YAWN*

now I'll spend 2 hours collecting pitiful loot, just to do it all over again, oh what a surprise, one of the same 4 missions over and over again...
June 6, 2007 4:43:26 PM

I'm surprised Jumpgate wasn't mentioned. It's kind of alone in the MMO space-sim genre, but it's a good example of how commercially difficult it is for games like this to survive. In fact it is only alive today because of one man's refusal to let it shut down. But it maintains a loyal following, and the developer has made several comments recently about some significant changes in the works, including a long overdue graphics update. So there is some life in the genre outside the open-source community.
June 6, 2007 5:07:42 PM

I'd love to dig into a space sim of the quality of the old Colony Wars series, but I've just not found anything. Last one I played was B5: IFH, whose control scheme was so appallingly complicated, I gave up. Twice.
June 6, 2007 5:26:55 PM

I have been a strong fan of the space sim genre. Among my favorite all-time games are X-Wing alliance, Tie Fighter, Freespace 2... I have been hoping to see a modern title with a similar game play.

I tried X3 but somehow that didn't click. I gave Free Allegiance a try, but I had to wait weeks before I could enter one of their "classes". During that time I dowloaded Eve and gave it a try.

Since I tried Eve (Feb 07), I have played no other game. I'm really having fun in this game. It isn't a fast-paced simulator (like said above)... in terms of speed I think it is closer to Starfleet Command III.

I would like it if there was a mod of Eve engine in which the camera could be placed from the cockpit's point of view, and if the ship could take directional commands for manoeuvring (I would leave the targetting and firing up to the current commans).

If keeping the same engine (without joystick input and cockpit point of view) it would be interesting to keep the engine as is, but make a shard of Eve with Star Trek ships
June 6, 2007 5:48:49 PM

Well, I guess everyone is right in pointing out that there are sub-genres within the space-sim genre. Personally I'd love to see X-Wing vs Tie Fighter 2 and I-War 3 in the combat end.
June 6, 2007 5:53:21 PM

I understand your points.
But what is the current "top dog" space combat sim?
Just wait for the "Freespace 2" future projects?
I used to love the space games until they got really lame and died out. Star Fleet Command was a joke.
June 6, 2007 6:45:27 PM

doesn't look that promising, but still, something is better than nothing:

http://www.spaceforce2.com/news2.aspx

my fondest moment w/ any gaming was gunning through the Kilrathy sage in one wk and the hearing the lasers for the first time in Tie fighter.
June 7, 2007 2:32:02 AM

If Tie Fighter 2 or Freespace 3 ever come out i will be the happiest 28 year old kid around.

The bad thing is that I wont return my gf's calls and I might be Awol from work for a few weeks and my skin will probably turn white and ghostly from being in the dark with the screen radiation.

I cant beleive no developer has the guts to make either one of these games or revive the genre. With the graphic technology out there the already great storys(i predict) they would be ultra emersive.


Make no mistake there are pleanty of fans out there not everyone likes RTS and FPS.

my 0.02$
June 7, 2007 11:51:44 AM

what about this game

Spaceforce: Rogue Universe (c) JoWood

just been released, havn't tried it yet though.. but looks nice.
June 7, 2007 1:57:15 PM

I was thinking about space sims yesterday...

The sci-fi movie/series genre overall also seems to be on a decline in popularity. I wonder if the two are related... is it a sociological phenomenon?
June 7, 2007 3:50:29 PM

CORE DECISION is in production at the moment, infulenced by the descent series and with input from the original designers and currant map designers and players. some the of models and scenery i,av seen is very sweet and it will be a lot faster than descent was with lots of motion sickness :) 

eye candy in production

http://psion.sonicwave.biz/resination_movement.wmv
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv-UMTME1jA
http://psion.sonicwave.biz/

http://www.uplinkstudios.com/games.html
June 7, 2007 4:13:16 PM

Quote:
If Tie Fighter 2 or Freespace 3 ever come out i will be the happiest 28 year old kid around.

The bad thing is that I wont return my gf's calls and I might be Awol from work for a few weeks and my skin will probably turn white and ghostly from being in the dark with the screen radiation.

I cant beleive no developer has the guts to make either one of these games or revive the genre. With the graphic technology out there the already great storys(i predict) they would be ultra emersive.


Make no mistake there are pleanty of fans out there not everyone likes RTS and FPS.

my 0.02$


I agree,

I'd be happy if they just did a nice update on Tie fighter with nice modern graphics and stuff.
June 8, 2007 8:57:28 AM

Quote:
sorry, added an extra 0, edited it. But eve is about choice, you can either trade, industrialize, mine or pirate, sounds like you started out industrial, i wouldnt touch that with a 10 foot pole. There are more factors to combat than just clicking a gun, unless your a nub, its all about strategy, quick reflexes, good piloting skill and being aware of your surroundings, the first month is slow, but if u find a good group of guys to fly with, the adrenaline rush is unmatched by anything outside of real life


nope, I started out pure combat... the combat missions suck arse and are purely a case of training the skills to use the right equipment.
I played for around 6 months... when I say "played" I mean skilled up, I had a raven with a full set of tech 2 cruises and decent shields blah blah etc.

Combat flight sims are about feeling the joystick (fnar) in your hands and playing with skill... EVE is about having more money and time in the game to be able to use better equipment.

Seriously, if you get an adrenaline rush from EVE then you really need to get out more. From my experience, you really have to have no life and nothing better to do to get any enjoyment out of EVE, driving my mum's nissan micra is more fun, and a fairly good analogy for most of the ships in EVE.

How is EVE about having quick reflexes? Everything takes 3 years to happen. Oh look at that, I clicked shield recharge... then I clicked all my missiles to "on"... oh everything is dead... *YAWN*

now I'll spend 2 hours collecting pitiful loot, just to do it all over again, oh what a surprise, one of the same 4 missions over and over again...

Did you ever do any pvp or did you just hide in empire like a carebear? Did you ever consider taking that T2 fitted raven in low sec or 0.0 and tell me when you take someone on of a similar size that you don't get an adrenaline rush when you face losing a serious chunk of time and money. Eve is the best pvp experience I have ever had in a game and 1.5 years on I still get the shakes. Take a fully T2 fitted HAC into combat and you shit yourself if it looks like you'll lose it and I've lost a few.

But then you sound like you just sat in empire running L4's which are only there to provide a source of income and so you missed just about everything that makes Eve great.
June 8, 2007 2:40:28 PM

Quote:
But then you sound like you just sat in empire running L4's which are only there to provide a source of income and so you missed just about everything that makes Eve great.


Yes I did do PvP... it's still yawn city... you're still completely missing the point that "point and click" is not a SPACE COMBAT SIM, which this article and thread are about, EVE is boring, full stop.

To be honest, all MMO's are gay, I simply don't have the patience to wait 6 months before they "get good". I want games that you can pick up and play and are as enthralling from the first mission as they are at the last. Which is what the article was about ffs. All MMO's require you to grind to get the next level or skill or amount of money to get the next item. I don't do grinding, I have a job, I spend my real money from my real job on entertainment items so I can have fun, not just spend yet more time grinding.

Everything about EVE is designed to make it take you months, so you keep forking over your money every month to progress, where as real games you just pay up front and take as much or as little time over as you please.

EVE is repetitive and requires that you have absolutely no life in order to progress. I guess in order for you to "sh1t yourself" you have to have invested too much time and effort in to acquiring your equipment. I mean, I sh1t myself when I nearly crash my car on a wet roundabout, but that's because it took me 2 years to pay for and another year to modify it to get the 500 horsepower it now has and if it crashed I could actually physically die. Somehow I don't think I'd get the same level of excitement from sitting at a desk and having to pay $10 on ebay to get another one.

EVE isn't about skill, it's about being spoddy enough to spend hours calculating which items give you the best theoretical outcome. And it's slow... and boring.

Did I miss the bit where I meant to say it's slow and boring?
June 9, 2007 11:50:49 AM

Couldn't have said it better myself, MMO's are just bad news. The only time I am prepared to invest time in a game to make it good is during tutorials.

Incidentally, I know it's off the topic but does anyone know when the next Mechwarrior game is coming out, I am a huge fan.
June 10, 2007 4:28:46 PM

Quote:
If Tie Fighter 2 or Freespace 3 ever come out i will be the happiest 28 year old kid around.

The bad thing is that I wont return my gf's calls and I might be Awol from work for a few weeks and my skin will probably turn white and ghostly from being in the dark with the screen radiation.

I cant beleive no developer has the guts to make either one of these games or revive the genre. With the graphic technology out there the already great storys(i predict) they would be ultra emersive.


Make no mistake there are pleanty of fans out there not everyone likes RTS and FPS.

my 0.02$
Rule number one of Hard Light Productions (basically the only major FS2 community) is to never combined a 3, a S, and a F in reverse order.
Rule number two of Hard Light Productions is never break rule number one.

If you can't find what you want, make it! If you aren't good enough to make it, learn! If you refuse to learn how to make it, stop wanting it!

Some games are tied up by licenses... Interplay is basically dead... here is their balance sheet from March 31, 2007...

Current Assets
Cash - $6,000
Trade Receivable - $134,000
Inventory - $8,000
Deposits - $4,000
Prepaid Expenses - $12,000
Other Receivables - $11,000
------------------------------------
Total current assets - $175,000
====================

Property and equipment, net - $2,000
Other assets - $8,000
---------------------------
Total assets - $185,000
===============


That was their assets... here are their liabilities!
Current Liabilities
Notes pay. - $1,435,000
Accts. Pay. subject to judgement - $1,653,000
Accts. Pay. - other - $3,720,000
Accrued royalites - $170,000
Deferred income - $415,000
Notes pay. to officers & directors - $702,000
------------------------------------
Current total liab. - $8,095,000
====================



Anyways... Interplay is in dire straits. Here is the recent Financial Statement...
June 11, 2007 8:56:56 AM

Quote:
But then you sound like you just sat in empire running L4's which are only there to provide a source of income and so you missed just about everything that makes Eve great.


Yes I did do PvP... it's still yawn city... you're still completely missing the point that "point and click" is not a SPACE COMBAT SIM, which this article and thread are about, EVE is boring, full stop.

To be honest, all MMO's are gay, I simply don't have the patience to wait 6 months before they "get good". I want games that you can pick up and play and are as enthralling from the first mission as they are at the last. Which is what the article was about ffs. All MMO's require you to grind to get the next level or skill or amount of money to get the next item. I don't do grinding, I have a job, I spend my real money from my real job on entertainment items so I can have fun, not just spend yet more time grinding.

Everything about EVE is designed to make it take you months, so you keep forking over your money every month to progress, where as real games you just pay up front and take as much or as little time over as you please.

EVE is repetitive and requires that you have absolutely no life in order to progress. I guess in order for you to "sh1t yourself" you have to have invested too much time and effort in to acquiring your equipment. I mean, I sh1t myself when I nearly crash my car on a wet roundabout, but that's because it took me 2 years to pay for and another year to modify it to get the 500 horsepower it now has and if it crashed I could actually physically die. Somehow I don't think I'd get the same level of excitement from sitting at a desk and having to pay $10 on ebay to get another one.

EVE isn't about skill, it's about being spoddy enough to spend hours calculating which items give you the best theoretical outcome. And it's slow... and boring.

Did I miss the bit where I meant to say it's slow and boring?

It can be slow and it can very very fast. It's never boring unless you mine. But you stick with your 500 bhp car (does it have a really big spoiler and you take it to supermarket car parks on the weekend?)

Insults aside you don't like it fair enough but after 1 and a half years of playing it I'm still going strong. (Just to counter one of the points which is a good and bad thing towards the game depending on your view but that you don't have to grind to level up yur char like you do in WoW meaning that I can play this game when I feel like it and am not at a disadvantage for not having played for a couple of weeks. You don't have to lose your life to play this game)
June 24, 2007 2:32:08 AM

I am surprised there is not much mention of Jumpgate here. I honed my space sim tastes on Elite and Jumpgate was and is the best thing to replace it. It's been running seven years now.

Yesterday, the publisher NetDevil announce the development of Jumpgate Evolution which apparently has been going of for almost a year in secret. http://www.jumpgate-evolution.com From all the interviews they did recently it sounds like it may come out this year. They are even letting one of the current fan sites name some of the new Jumpgate space ships.

I think this game will give EVE a run for it's money and offer those that want to really fly their ships a lot of fun times.
June 25, 2007 2:37:24 AM

had descent years ago
June 26, 2007 5:11:47 AM

eve online people
June 27, 2007 4:09:26 PM

Russian developer Kvazar Studios is putting out a new space combat sim called Tarr Chronicles. It's due out in September.

I doesn't support joysticks.

It looks pretty though.

Link.
June 28, 2007 3:37:00 PM

Quote:
Russian developer Kvazar Studios is putting out a new space combat sim called Tarr Chronicles. It's due out in September.

I doesn't support joysticks.


If it doesn't support joystick, it can't be called a space combat sim.
Joystick support is essential in any flying/space combat sim.

This is like Forza 2 on the Xbox360 not having a cockpit view - it's an arcade game, not a car racing simulator.
June 28, 2007 4:38:22 PM

I disagree. I actually preferred playing Freespace with a mouse.
June 28, 2007 4:48:50 PM

Quote:
I disagree. I actually preferred playing Freespace with a mouse.


I don't think you meant "supports joysticks" exclusively. Most space combat sims allow for mouse use though it can be hard to fly with a mouse in some of them.
June 28, 2007 4:54:48 PM

I think you misunderstood my post.

I was using Freespace as an example of a game that was clearly a space combat sim, but which was fun to play with a mouse. Whilst the game did have joystick support, it would have been none the weaker for not having it. In fact, I think a significant number of players used the mouse&keyboard option due to the number of buttons (playing with joystick and keyboard can be a bit tricky!). Therefore, I don't think joystick support is a prerequisite for space combat games.

That said, it does seem a little silly not to include joystick support, since there will always be folks who insist upon it...
June 28, 2007 7:20:08 PM

Yup Freespace and Freelancer did quite well as well without a joystick as well.

Anyway, why do we need a joystick to validate it as a space combat sim? Startrek Commander (think that was it) did perfectly well using almost an fps style of control.
June 29, 2007 5:08:19 PM

Freelancer was a good game, but it would have been nice to have the option of using a joystick (I prefer the joystick for flying), but the mouse still worked well.
July 4, 2007 6:32:55 AM

There is exactly one game that needs to come out to single-handedly resurrect the space combat genre:

FreeSpace 3.
July 4, 2007 8:21:38 PM

Quote:
There is exactly one game that needs to come out to single-handedly resurrect the space combat genre:

FreeSpace 3.


+1
!