Sunday, March 13, 2016

StarForge - 5/20 hours

There's one thing StarForge does better than any other game I've played. Chopping down trees is amazing. You swing your tool at the base of the tree and eventually a break appears in the trunk. Then gravity takes over and the whole trunk falls down, the top tipping over first and then bringing the bottom with it. It's an animation that reaches into some deep, dark part of your brain and makes it want to yell "TIMBER!"

Going through a forest with a chainsaw, hacking down everything you see, is oddly satisfying. It's unfortunate, then, that it took me so long to actually get a chainsaw.

The problem I had was that my original world was very stingy with iron ore. I spent hours wandering around looking for it. Eventually, I got lost in an area with some tall cliffs and then somehow died when I went to get a pillow for a customer. Apparently StarForge does not have a pause function, which is always something that annoys me in a single-player game.

This turn of events frustrated me so much that I deleted the entire world and started a new one from scratch. And in the new world there were two huge iron deposits right near my spawn. I guess that's just how these things go.

Having access to iron has changed the way I view the game. I hadn't realized before that enemies could drop blueprints for new crafting items when you killed them (without a gun, I'd always run away). And with my discovery of new building materials like cement blocks, it actually seems plausible to craft some significant structures. The only problem I've faced so far is that placing ramps has been a pain in the ass. Getting them in exactly the right configuration to smooth out the corners of your structure is incredibly fiddly. StarMade had an interface for this that worked pretty well (even if it was sometimes hard to judge the exact orientation), but as far as I can tell, StarForge does not, and since the developers have apparently given up on the game, it probably never will.

Which is a shame, because the terrain, when it's not randomly disappearing or slowing down to less than 10fps, is nice and organic-looking, so the Minecraft-style stepped buildings are not really in keeping with the game's aesthetic. I suppose I could get around this by building only in rectilinear blocks, but I quickly chafe at the limitations of those kinds of designs.

Ah well, I'm not going to win any architectural design awards with StarForge's crafting system, but chances are I wasn't going to do that anyway.

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