Tag Archives: space flight simulator

No Man’s Sky: Plans For Survival And Enjoyment

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Photo by “NickatNite”

I pre-ordered No Man’s Sky on PC so I won’t be able to play it at least until Friday and possibly not even until Sunday or Monday. I wanted to write something timely but all I can really put down about it right now are my plants for how to approach the game. Continue reading

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Space Engine Exploration Journal Part Two

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I think I found something else in Space Engine that’s worth showing off right away. It’s not one object, but one of the neatest systems I’ve seen so far. It contains an object with probably the highest Earth Similarity Index I’ve seen so far in this procedural generated universe. Continue reading

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What’s Behind The Cost Of Games: Part Two

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In the responses I’ve seen to No Man’s Sky being priced the same as Uncharted 4 or The Division, people seem to be trying to get to the heart of what actually constitutes a $60 video game. In February I tried to put down some thoughts about the factors that might go into it. After looking at all this I think there are two very important ways in which No Man’s Sky goes against everything customers have come to believe about $60 games, one of which people are discussing and one of which I haven’t really seen mentioned at all. Continue reading

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Exploration So Far In Elite Dangerous

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I just crossed the 60-hour mark in Elite Dangerous and even though I don’t consider myself qualified to fully critique it or games like it, I think it’s time I at least put down some observations and general things I’d like to see Frontier Developments improve or change. If you’re one of those people who are still curious or pessimistic about No Man’s Sky, this post might help better inform your expectations of that game.

Even though I’ve done a few posts in the past on PC space flight games, I’m still not really “in-tune” with that genre. I don’t have a great idea of what fans of the “Fight, Trade, Explore” style space game expect from Elite Dangerous or games like it. I don’t know how it scales up compared to games of the past or similar games being made today. More importantly, I haven’t really interacted with other people playing this game so I don’t know what the common grievances have been. Elite Dangerous feels a lot like what I experienced in Frontier: Elite II but with more accessible controls I guess. Still, after 60 hours I find myself wishing for certain things in Dangerous. Consider this a critique with some suggestions from an average newcomer to the series and genre.

Everything I’m about to say has mainly to do with exploration in Elite Dangerous. I haven’t really done trading or bounty hunting at all so I have no idea how those aspects of the game have turned out. I’ve spent pretty much all my time exploring and scanning star systems, so I’m just critiquing what that experience feels like here. Continue reading

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Space Games Part 4: Elite Dangerous

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The fall Steam deal convinced me (along with probably a lot of other people) to finally check out Elite Dangerous, sort of ending my trek through the series all the way from the 1984 original. I haven’t accomplished a whole lot in this game yet so this is probably gonna be part one of some kind of chronicle. I have to say though, this game is pulling me in probably more than Fallout 4. Continue reading

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Late to Space Games Part 3: Frontier Elite II

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Part 1
Part 2

Frontier: Elite II is one of the most mind-blowing games I’ve ever played, purely on a technical scale. Unlike the first Elite, I’m not just impressed with Frontier just became it came out 21 years ago. It really might be the most technically incredible open-world I’ve ever seen in a video game. It’s also further improved my perspective on what people hope No Man’s Sky will be.

Like the original, Frontier is a free download these days so I really suggest you at least take a look at it. There’s even a high-resolution widescreen version at that link. All that said, I can definitely understand why basically nobody else repeated the absolutely insane scale of Frontier. Its main identifying design decisions really set it up as more of a speculative simulation of space travel than a fun game. Continue reading

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Late to Space Games Part 2: Modern Elite Conversions

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Choosing the NES version of the original Elite seems to have greatly impacted my opinion of the game overall, as it makes a few small but crucial design decisions that actually make it a very unique edition. I learned this after trying out some of Elite’s more modern conversions. Compared to the hardcore simulator Elite is supposed to be, the NES version feels much more accessible.

Specifically I tried out Elite: The New Kind — a Windows port released earlier this year, the open-source PC fan remake Oolite, and the iOS clone Unknown. What took me by surprise with the modern PC conversions is how faithful they are to the original game, in more ways than I’d like to be honest. Continue reading

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Late to Space Games Part 1: Elite (1984)

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One game genre that’s mystified me over the years has been space flight simulators. The buzz surrounding No Man’s Sky convinced me to finally plan to investigate them this year. Part of the reason people are so mystified with the game is because it’s part of a genre that almost doesn’t exist on consoles. So, for a while you might see a lot of posts on this blog about space games. I decided to start off with one of the first and probably the most influential — the original 1984 Elite, well, a version of it at least.

On one hand I was always intimidated by how complex the flying mechanics of Wing Commander or X-Wing look. On the other hand I wondered how games about trading goods like Freelancer could ever be fun, even if it is in space. Even the title “Freelancer” sounds like some kind of economics job description that’s anti-fun. It’s one more area that makes PC gaming look much more intimidating than it actually is. I think I made the right decision in starting my trek through this genre basically from the beginning. Continue reading

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