Tag: space game

Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 Has Arrived!

Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 Has Arrived!

Monday, April 23, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 Has Arrived!

Well, it seems that long awaited day has come.  Yes, Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 is now live!  The long awaited release of the official game contains Character Customization, Service Beacons, new ships and weapons, improvements to the system framework of the game, and a continually developing first person cinematic introductory storyline campaign.  Five new ships have been added to the update – the swift Razor, imposing Reclaimer, rough and tumble Cyclone, stout Terrapin, and slick Nox Kue variant.  The Aegis Vulcan, the only Star Citizen ship that can rearm, repair, and refuel ships in distress, via four remote-controlled drones, was a promotional ship that was only available throughout the month of March.  So, if you didn’t get a chance to secure your purchase of one and the limited customizable skin offer…..better luck next time!  Time to sharpen up those piracy skills and get ready for some hungry players out there who want your loot!  For the rest of you who are fortunate enough to purchase some of these lovely new space trophies, make sure to keep your peeled for bandits!

According to a newsletter dated April 6, 2018:

We successfully released Star Citizen Alpha 3.1 to the PU last weekend, adding the first iterations of Character Customization and Service Beacons to the growing ‘verse, along with new ships and weapons, and improvements to frame rate and visuals. Thanks to everyone in the Community that helped with testing.

You can get the inside story on everything our teams across the globe have been up to during March, from getting 3.1 out the door, to working on features planned for future releases, the development of Squadron 42, and more, in our monthly report.

With 3.1 in full swing, our developers now look ahead to the rest of this year’s quarterly releases, beginning with 3.2, which you can see reflected on our public Roadmap. To that end, the Roadmap will continue to be reworked, taking into account the feedback from last month’s backer survey, to better align with player priorities, and the flow of development. So, expect to see even more changes in the coming weeks. With focus on quality of life improvements and performance, the goal is to continue to make Star Citizen a more satisfying experience for players overall.

With every release, new ships are introduced into the PU, and 3.1 sees five vessels ready for takeoff. From the cyclopean Aegis Reclaimer to the nimble Nox Kue, these newly operable vehicles offer various ways to adventure through the universe. All five ships are being offered, along with some older favorites, with a special war bond option that lets you secure them at their original concept prices. This special only last through Monday April 9th, so grab one now and get flying.

Centurion Subscribers get a chance to chase the checkered flag this month, with access to the MISC Razor – March’s ship of the month. And Imperator Subscribers can try out all five of the ships debuting in Alpha 3.1, by taking part in the latest Test Flight. This month also sees the release of new Subscriber flair, beginning with exclusive finishes for the Gemini pistol.

CitizenCon 2948 is coming up in October, in Austin Texas. We’re currently finalizing venue details, but stay tuned, as more updates and ticket information will be coming soon.

Remember to check out this week’s shows. Around the Verse brings us a UK studio update, and an in-depth look into the mobiGlas and its evolving apps, Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy takes us to the Nul system, Calling All Devs answers questions about ship docking and scanning, and Reverse the Verse Live gives mad props to the props teams, as Ben Curtis and Cory Bamford join Jared to answer questions from the Community.

I look forward to begin playing the long awaited Squadron 42 intro campaign and I hope to meet you somewhere out there in the distant stars!  Remember I come in peace, unless you don’t…..well…..maybe.  Good luck and be careful out there!

The Universe of Starfinder

The Universe of Starfinder

Friday, November 10, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The Universe of Starfinder

Starfinder is set in the same universe as Pathfinder. In addition to the obvious “lots of time has passed, and now there’s more technology,” there are two significant events that set the stage for the passage from Pathfinder to Starfinder. The first is the Gap, a span of centuries that no one remembers. Everyone just woke up one day with knowledge of basic present facts (for example, “this person is my spouse”) but no recollection of historical facts (for example, “how did I meet this person”). Of particular note is that, at some point during the Gap, the central world of Pathfinder (Golarion) disappeared.

The second event is the creation of the Drift (and the creator of the Drift, the gestalt deity known as Triune). The Drift is what allows interstellar travel without the use of high-level magic. To travel with a drift engine means shunting into a parallel dimension, traveling through that, and then translating back into the prime material. Drift travel usually means a week or two travel time between systems (drift travel works in-system as well, but is not typically any faster than taking several days to travel through realspace). Notably, there is no equivalent of “subspace” or other instantaneous technological communication – sending a message through the Drift is no faster than simply travelling through the drift, meaning that interstellar communications are mostly at courier speed.

The home base of the Starfinder setting is the Golarion system, home of the Pact Worlds. The Golarion system is a very crowded place, with around a dozen inhabited worlds (including worldships, massive space stations, asteroid belts, and such). The Pact Worlds is a confederation of the various worlds and demi-worlds of the Golarian system, plus protectorates both in and out of the system. The government of the Pact is located on Absalom Station, which resides in the orbit that used to belong to Golarion. Player characters are reasonably likely to have some involvement with this government, as it can provide a good excuse for throwing disparate PCs together and giving them a mission. Because of its somewhat limited mandate, the Pact government does not really get into the sort of traditional law and order function that’s not well-suited for PCs.

Notable Pacts Worlds and protectorates include the sun (a protectorate inhabited mostly by the Church of Sarenrae), Aballon (a machine-ruled Pact World), Castrovel (the Pact World home of the lashunta), Verces (a tidally locked world where most civilization exists along The Line), the worldship Idari (home of the kasatha), Eox (a self-ravaged Pact World now inhabited by the undead), Apostae (a world captured from the depths of space, inhabited by drow and a lot of ancient technology they don’t understand), Aucturn (not a planet as much as a giant egg for a chthonic being), and a couple of inhabited gas giants.

Nearby to the Pacts Worlds is the Veskarium, a solar system that is also multi-species, but that is ruled by the reptilian vesk. Further away a menace that has not yet turned its eye on the Pact Words is the Azlanti Star Empire (descendants of a settlement founded by humans from the ancient Golarion empire of Azlant, before that empire destroyed itself). Another dozen worlds or systems are briefly described. In addition to the playable species discussed below, the worlds in and out of the Golarion system are ripe with sentient species to be added as playable races in later supplements.

Significant factions include Abadarcorp (the massive corporation/church of the god of wealth), the Android Abolitionist Front (who try to root out continued use of androids as slaves), the Augmented (pushing for the advancement of life through cybernetics), the Free Captains (space pirates), the Hellknights (Order Above All), the Knights of Glarion (a band of do-gooders associated with the church of Iomedae), the Starfinder Society, the Stewards (the elite warrior-diplomats who work for the Pact), and the Xenowardens (space druids).

Twenty core deities are described, although I would say that around a dozen of them are possible sources of faith for player characters. These are a gestalt of existing Pathfinder deities, new deities brought by other species, and deities of cosmological concepts that take on an increased importance in a science fantasy setting. There are, however, many gods in existence beyond this score.

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

 

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Well, Pathfinder is here and what an interesting game it is!  Character creation is of course is the fundamental part of any role playing campaign, so I would like to start my long (but hopefully inspiring) critique of Starfinder with that.  So let’s just dive right in to this long awaited hearty meal with the important things first:

Characters in Starfinder have many familiar elements from Pathfinder, but there are differences. For example, characters don’t just have a race and a class, they have race/class/theme. They do, however, have the six attributes we all know and love – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma (a point buy is the default method of picking these).

Typical of other science fiction based role playing games outside of the fantasy genre, Starfinder does not use hit points in the same way as D&D/Pathfinder. Rather, a character has both hit points and stamina points. Stamina points are lost first, and are relatively easily recoverable (characters have Resolve points to spend every day, and spending a point refreshes all Stamina. Hit points lost represents actual damage to the character, and is harder to heal. Characters gain both hit points and stamina points every level based on character class (characters also get a one-time HP boost from their race).

Leveling up will be familiar to Pathfinder fans. It is still literally leveling up, from 1st to 20th. Following in the refinements of Pathfinder, Starfinder makes sure that characters are getting something new at every level from every class. In addition to class-specific benefits, characters gets a feat every other level, an ability score increase every fifth level, and a theme benefit every sixth level. Multiclassing exists, but is disfavored.

There are seven standard races available, plus several “legacy” races. The legacy races – dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and halflings – are perfectly playable, are simply not given the same prominence in Starfinder. Some, like the elves, have a relatively limited presence in the setting, voluntarily isolating themselves. But others, like the halflings, are almost as widespread as humanity. Each race gets one page with mechanics and two portraits, and one page of setting information. The seven standard races are:

  • Human: you know what these guys are, right? As with Pathfinder, they get to pick their attribute bonus, and start with an extra feat and get more skill points. These are the same humans who originated on Golarion.
  • Android: As androids are often wont to do, these ones were created as servitors but more recently have been recognized as sentient beings with rights (well, at least they have in the Pact Worlds). They are constructs and have some environmental immunities, have good vision, sometimes have a tough time communicating when it comes to emotions, and can upgrade their bodies as if it was armor. They are nimble and smart, but not very charismatic.
  • Lashunta: Originating in the Golarion system, the lashuntas are near-human in appearance, but with long antenna (they are not insectile). They are mildly telepathic, have a handful of cantrips they can use as spell-like abilities, and get skill bonuses. Lashunta are a dimorphic species, and characters usually get to choose which one they will become (not just that the player gets to choose for their character, but the character themselves gets to choose). All lashunta are charismatic, while one subspecies is strong but somewhat oblivious, while the other is smart but fragile.
  • Kasatha: The kasatha originate from outside the Golarion system. They came to the system in a generational worldship intending to colonize, but found the system too densely populated to just take over a planet. So they stuck around and their ship is now a Pact World. Kasatha kind of look like Eldar with four arms. They tend towards being very traditionalist and consider melee weapons preferable to ranged ones. Mechanically, they get bonuses to Strength and Wisdom, but a penalty to Intelligence. They get bonuses to Culture, Acrobatics, and Athletics. Oh, and there’s the four arms thing, which literally lets them carry more.
  • Ysoki: These ratfolk are generally high-energy and technologically-focused. They have bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence, but a penalty to Strength and have less HP than most other races. They are small, can carry things in their check pouches, have darkvision, and get bonuses to tinkering, hiding, and surviving.
  • Vesk: The vesk are definitely not a Pact World race. Indeed, these aggressive, martial reptilians were the impetus for the creation of the Pact. But the arrival of the Swarm threatened both the vesk’s star system and the Golarion system, resulting in a hesitant collaboration between the two. Vesk are strong and tough (including extra racial HP), but not as bright. They get extra benefit from armor, have enhanced vision, and natural weapons.
  • Shirren: Unlike the lashunta, the shirren are insectile. Indeed, they are a breakaway portion of the Swarm. Because of their history as part of a forced hive mind, they highly prize individual choice. They are tough and observant, but are considered less charismatic by other races. They have blindsense (vibration), work well as part of a team, have limited telepathy, and get bonuses to Culture and Diplomacy checks.

Next up is the theme, which is layered on top of the class. A character can be a priest (theme) whether or not they are a spellcasting mystic (class). A character can be a mercenary or a bounty hunter (themes) without being a soldier (class), or can be a soldier and a spacefarer (theme). The themes are ace pilot, bounty hunter, icon (as in, a celebrity), mercenary, outlaw, priest, scholar, spacefarer, and xenoseeker. Each theme gives +1 to a specific attribute, a bonus class skill at first level and a boost when using that skill (or some related skills), and unique abilities at levels 6, 12, and 18. For example, the Ace Pilot always has Piloting as a class skill, gets a bonus on Piloting checks, and has an easier time with Culture checks to know about starships and vehicles. A character can also be themeless, which provides generic bonuses.

As one might anticipate, a character’s class is the most mechanically significant mechanical choice at character creation. Class defines attack bonuses, saving throws, hit points and stamina points, skill points and where they are best spent, and weapon and armor proficiencies. The baselines for these are about 6 HP/SP a level, 4 skill points a level, a moderate base attack bonus, two good saving throws, and proficiency in light armor, basic melee weapons, grenades, and small arms. Every class also gives Weapon Specialization (bonus damage) at 3rd level for every weapon it gave proficiency with. Most classes have a class feature that every few levels lets the player choose an ability off of a substantial list, permitting a lot of customization. There are seven classes:

  • Soldier: The soldier will be instantly recognizable to any Pathfinder or D&D fan as the fighter of the system. They have increased HP/SP, the highest base attack bonus, and are proficient with pretty much every kind of weapon and armor – indeed they are the only class that is proficient with heavy armor, heavy weapons, and longarms (rifles). Soldiers receive a bonus combat feat every other level, and get to select gear boosts every four levels (such as a bonus when wearing armor or attack bonuses with certain weapon subcategories). Soldiers choose a primary (and eventually a secondary) fighting style, such as arcane assailant, armor storm, blitz, bombard, guard, hit-and-run, or sharpshoot (a soldier with the right specialization can also use powered armor). This fighting style gives bonuses every four levels. Soldiers also get enhanced ability to make extra attacks.
  • Envoy: The social character class (the “face,” if you will), the envoy is also very good with skills generally, gaining the highest available number of skill points per level and class features that make them even better at select skills. They envoy gains envoy improvisations every couple of levels. These abilities tend to involve social combat effects, such as taunting enemies or bolstering allies.
  • Operative: The operative is the other skill-heavy class, with some aspects traditionally associated with the rogue, like Evasion and a Sneak Attack variant (Trick Attack). Operative exploits are chosen every two levels, and include abilities such as a bonus combat feat, the ability to use skills untrained, or extra mobility. Each operative chooses a specialization, which gives several powers and a bonus exploit. The specializations include daredevil, detective, explorer, ghost, hacker, spy, and thief. Operatives aren’t proficient with grenades, but they are proficient with sniper rifles. They also have the potential to make more attacks than most other classes.
  • Mechanic: The mechanic is a “pet” class, with the pet being an AI installed either in a drone or in an exocortex (a brain implant with an AI) that levels up along with the mechanic (and is very customizable itself). The mechanic is also bonkers at breaking into computers and related systems. The drone AI tends towards combat, while the exocortex makes the mechanic even better at hacking. The mechanic chooses from a variety of mechanic tricks every two levels, such as a bonus ability when repairing starships or a visual data processor for enhanced perception.
  • Mystic: The mystic is, along with the technomancer, one of the two spellcasting classes. Neither spellcasting class is “arcane” or “divine,” but the mystic leans more towards what you might expect from a divine spellcaster (they have the healing spells, for example, while the technomancer has magic missile; their spellcasting is also based on Wisdom). Reading the descriptions, I almost wondered if mystics were Starfinder Jedi, as their powers are all about “connection with some force.” The concepts involved are broader than that, however, as a mystic’s “connection” is their philosophical power source. If the mystic draws their power from a deity, then this connection is probably related to that god, but the connection need not be divine in nature. Some of the connections are akashic, empath, healer, mindbreaker, overlord, and xenodruid (note that some of those connections are not exactly pleasant). Connections grant a few more spells known, and then a specific power every three levels. The mystic has a certain number of spells cast per day and spells known; there is no memorization of spells. The mystic also gains telepathic powers. The mystic has a few more skill points than is standard, but is not proficient with grenades and has subpar saving throws.
  • Technomancer: The other side of the spellcasting duo, technomancers are Intelligence-based, with fewer HP/SP and skills than the mystic. Technomancers have a spell cache for extra flexibility, and get a magic hack every few levels that can be used to modify spells or use spell slots for additional effects. Magical hacks include disrupting technological attacks, using a battery to fuel spellcasting, or changing any basic land type into another.
  • Solarian: The solarian is the most distinctive Starfinder class. The solarian’s concept is tied to the stars in their various stages of life, and the power of gravity, light, and heat. During combat, the solarian will either be in graviton mode or photon mode (and will fluctuate between the two), gaining access to particular powers depending on what mode they are in (the solarian will get to pick particular powers as they level up). In addition to these stellar modes, the solarian is also accompanied by a solar mote, a physical manifestation of their solar power. The solarian must choose whether this mote can become a solar weapon or can become solar armor. Of course, the solar equipment improves as the solarian levels. The solarian, like the operative and the soldier, has improved access to extra attacks. Solarians also join soldiers in having more HP/SP than other classes and in getting a better base attack bonus, and trade in their grenade proficiency for advanced melee weapons.

Archetypes exist in Starfinder like they do in Pathfinder, but work somewhat differently. Each base class has a standardized list of what it loses from an archetype when an archetype puts a feature in at that level, allowing archetypes to apply to any class (instead of being class-specific). There are only two archetypes presented, however, making this more something that will be expanded in later books than used directly out of this one. The two archetypes are the phrenic adept (psychics) and the Starfinder Forerunner (from the Starfinder Society).

Star Citizen: Working towards v3.0

Star Citizen: Working towards v3.0

Sunday, October 1, 2017 | By | Add a Comment


Star Citizen: Working towards v3.0

And now, for the update you’ve all been waiting for….that game which everyone is eagerly awaiting for….Star Citizen 3.0!  Star Citizen 3.0 has been postponed for quite some time now, with its July due date now spreading into October.  There are new worlds, game improvements, ship and vehicle additions, hangar and item additions, new weaponry, and many, many bugs and problems that need to be fixed.  So, when can we expect the release of one of the most anticipated games of the year?  I sure would like to know when I will be able to fly my Constellation Aquila to explore some new worlds, as well as finally play some storyline campaigns as well, instead of the small quests and space racing they have had for many a long year and a long season now.

Here are some words about the 3.0 expansion from the developers:

Like the Star Citizen Alpha numbering change from 1.3 to 2.0 for the move to Large World, with its 64-bit precision and Local Grid physics tech, that allows us to deliver a game of our detail at a solar system scale, 3.0 represents a giant jump in gameplay potential from the code in the 2.x branch. For a start, it will contain about nine months of our main development branch beyond 2.6.x as well as almost two years of Planetary Tech development that the Frankfurt Engine team embarked on in the last half of 2015. The Planetary Tech opens up a whole new landscape (pun intended) for adventure. In the same way that Large World and Physics Grids created new possibilities in gameplay by allowing players to go from walking around a space station to boarding a ship, flying it hundreds of thousands of kilometers, exiting their pilot seat, walking to an airlock, opening it and EVAing over to a derelict station, all from the same point of view, the Planetary Tech takes it one massive leap further. When you see a Planet or Moon, you will be able to fly there, land and explore on foot, or from your ship or a ground vehicle you have brought with you.

3.0 is supposed to open up the Star Citizen universe for the players to explore and begin their adventuring on the available planets with more in production as the game progresses.  Version 3.2 will provide us with more updates and most likely more planets and additions as well.

Here is the link to the original webpage detailing the timeline for the release of Star Citizen 3.0: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/schedule-report.

I don’t know about you other Star Citizeners out there, but I am ready to build my stronghold off of raiding and lots of other nastiness.  Isn’t that what life in a universe is all about?

Happy gaming!

My Very First Review of Star Citizen

My Very First Review of Star Citizen

Monday, April 10, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

My Very First Review of Star Citizen

Hello again my fellow readers, tonight I am going to do my own personal review of Star Citizen.  I seem to have been introduced to this game a bit late, but those of you who don’t know about this game, let me give you a brief rundown of the game.  The game has been created by the acclaimed game designer Chris Roberts (who helped define the space simulation genre with his Wing Commander and Privateer franchises).  It is of course, set in an entirely different universe which continues to expand as production on the game continues.  The game brings the visceral action of piloting interstellar craft through combat and exploration to a new generation of gamers at a level of fidelity never before seen.  It offers a complete universe where any number of adventures can take place, allowing players to decide their own game experience. Pick up jobs as a smuggler, pirate, merchant, bounty hunter, or enlisted pilot.  A huge sandbox with a complex and deep lore allows players to explore or play in whatever capacity they wish.  Immerse yourself high quality, cutting-edge visuals and technology, a virtual world that is massive and detailed, a sophisticated storyline that is wide in scope, and visceral space combat that will make your heart pound.

You can now play certain features of the game, however, the game itself is still in production, with the developers continuing to set deadlines which have not been met for its completion.  These features include the Persistent Universe Alpha, Arena Commander, and Star Marine.  The Persistent Universe Alpha is the full games universe where you can communicate with other players, access your hangar, and fly around space and complete certain tasks or contracts.  Arena Commander offers PVP space combat, PVE space combat, limited space exploration, and racing.  Star Marine is essentially the alpha first person shooter module of the game.

Squadron 42, which is the introductory first person module for the game is still in development and has not yet been released.  This module was originally intended to be the first part of the game where the player learns to fly and fight in a first person setting without the MMO features of the game, in order to gain citizenship for the games universe.  It has plans to be released sometime in the next year.

The game has beautiful graphics and very fluid and enticing game play.  In order to play the game, you must pledge, or sign up for the game on the developers website and purchase a starter kit and ship.  Ships range anywhere from $45 upward to thousands of dollars and new ships are constantly being developed for the game.

I will continue to post updates regarding the progress of the games development.  I plan on playing this game frequently and to blog my updates on the game as well.  So, until then, why not pledge, pay the $45, and try the game yourselves?  Have fun and I will return soon my space adventurers!

Elite Dangerous Review

Elite Dangerous Review

Sunday, June 19, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Elite Dangerous Review

Elite Dangerous is a game that originally was released in 1984 and has been significantly revised with many additions and a multiplayer game setting included with its original single player feel.  The game has progressed since its release in 2014, but it has had its share of problems and still does.  These problems are mostly the result of a poor “background simulation” where the galaxy’s economy and politics evolve, as well as the lack of being able to form huge intergalactic alliances and join thriving corporations.

The overall goal of the game is to advance your rankings to the titular “elite” status. You have three such rankings: one for your performance in combat, one for trading, and one for exploration. Each ranking starts out at the lowest level—your combat rank is “Harmless,” your trading rank is “Penniless,” and your exploration rank is “Aimless.” To gain rank, you fight, trade, or explore. These three rankings encapsulate the three main “paths” of the game—there are lots of things to do, but they all come down to either fighting, trading, or exploring.

Players looking to form up in large-scale alliances or corporations like in (the biggest space MMORPG to date) EVE will be disappointed, because Elite Dangerous doesn’t have that.  Players looking for spaceships that conform to traditional MMORPG roles (healer, tank, caster, and so on) will be similarly disappointed—not only can you not form player groups larger than four ships, but the ships also don’t necessarily align to traditional MMORPG classes.

Elite Dangerous is nothing more than it advertises itself as being: an up-to-date modernized version of the 1984 original title.  It is first and foremost about the experience of being one pilot physically sitting in a cockpit, and the entire game is geared around that conceit.  It is not and will never be about fleet actions or raids or players flying capital ships passing along orders.  There’s no automatic docking or automatic pilot, the ships in Elite Dangerous are all hands-on, all the time, with often severe consequences for not staying focused.

Elite Dangerous is a beautiful game and an amazing space sim let down by a universe devoid of character and low on excitement.  It’s great to fly the various ships and experiment with different loadouts, and there are a lot of different roles to play in Elite Dangerous that helps keep the experience fresh. But without any special missions or narrative threads to pick up, and a universe that seems more mechanical than alive, Elite Dangerous also seems far smaller than its 400 billion star systems.