Saturday, July 11, 2015

Woops! I Accidentally Played StarMade

For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me the game Starmade. Because I love voxel-based crafting games almost as much as I love 4X games, and because it was a very generous and thoughtful gift, I decided I would try it out. Because it was still in early access, I decided I would not write about it for the blog just yet. I figured it would be a shame to commit myself to playing this game when, if I but waited, a superior version would become available, especially since I have more than enough to occupy me in the meantime.

That was three days ago, and in the time since, I've played StarMade almost every waking hour. I've sailed past the twenty-hour mark, and I could easily do twenty more. Even when I'm not playing it, I'm thinking about it. In the grand scheme of things, it's probably not (yet) a great game, but it's gotten under my skin.

StarMade is a little like Minecraft with a science-fiction flair. You mine minerals to build parts, and then use those parts to build other parts, and as time goes on your production chains and available resources increase, and with your greater wealth comes greater ambition, and your goals and achievements are limited only by your imagination.

Except in this game, you can build spaceships! And mine asteroids! And have bases on the surface of planets! It's a science fiction universe where you have a real sense of ownership and control over the technology. Your ship designs have meaning, and the things you build have purpose and function. When I last stopped playing, I was trying to work out the logistics of manufacturing the second- and third-tier components necessary to build a really powerful warship. Can you believe it? LOGISTICS!

Which, I know, doesn't sound like a huge draw, but I was thinking about how my all-in-one, general-purpose factory wasn't set up to handle the massive influx of resources I got from the mining ship that factory helped me to build, and that it would really be more efficient to make the power plant a separate building, and then make individual factories for hulls, engines, weapons, and (especially) paint, and I realized that this sci-fi Minecraft clone was also a stealth city sim.  For me, at least, it's just about the most addictive thing imaginable.

Anyway, that's how I accidentally wound up crossing a game off my list that I only meant to play for a few minutes (and even now, just thinking about it, I'm finding it difficult to resist popping back in "for just one more thing"). I'd fully intended to get to Star Wars: Republic Commando, and it wasn't until sometime last night that I realized I was going to wind up bumping it down a slot.

I'm still interested in playing it, however. The delay has nothing to do with my feelings about Republic Commando and everything to do with the fact that I have terrible self-control. I'll probably get started on it later today, if I can resist making one little adjustment to my spaceship . . .

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