Starflight Part 5: A Few Actual Things Happen

So after a brief respite I dive back into Starflight, in the hopes of actually exploring a bit of the galaxy. After a bit of work I’m getting a little more comfortable with the UI, and I’ve started being able to enter codes from the manual in record time.

I’ve explored a number of the planets in the local system and accumulated enough wealth in the form of mineral resources to begin the process of training  up my crew, and outfitting my ship:

Not exactly the hottest vehicle in known space, but I should be able to handle myself in an emergency. In the process of outfitting the ship, I’ve discovered some interesting things:

  • The scale of the universe. The idea of doing a complete exploration of the game universe is inconceivable. The sheer amount of room on even a single planet is huge, and exploring even a single one might take all day—especially because the range of my terrain vehicle is limited. In order to explore the entirety of a planet I’d have to land, rove out to maximum range, return to the ship, move it, and land again each time. The range of the terrain vehicle is minuscule compared to the size of most of the planets in the starting galaxy, and I assume they get bigger—and the scale of the planet is such that taking off and landing adjacent to your take-off location is extremely difficult. If I take off, move one pixel over and land again, I’m not sure I’d have enough fuel in my terrain vehicle to reach my initial take-off location from the new landing site.
  • Planets continue in their orbit when you leave the system. That one made it difficult to get back to the starbase at least once.
  • The reason for the mission. A new message has been sent to my operations console indicating the real reason for the mission—it seems that the star that the current human homeworld orbits around has become unstable, and we’re off looking for candidates for new colony worlds.
  • And perhaps most importantly, Starflight is not turn-based. I had originally been under the impression that while I was futzing around in the menus, the action would wait for me in order to continue. This is not so—the game continues counting time in the background while I do my work. This has led to a number of occasions in which several days have passed while our intrepid captain tries to count the number of planets in the system to figure out if they’re in orbit around planet IV or planet V. I’m not sure what our science officer is doing all this time. Sleeping?

Join us next time as we have our first encounter with alien life, and promptly shoot it in the face!

Published by Malgayne

Community Manager at Google. Formerly at Sourcebits, Spark Plug Games, Zynga, and I like chiptunes and hefeweizen.

2 thoughts on “Starflight Part 5: A Few Actual Things Happen

  1. Man, I think “mind-boggling in scope” is a feature wa-a-a-a-ay too absent in games these days. Stuff like Skyrim or even the odd GTA here or there get kinda close, but when you can still see the other side of “the map” from the opposite end it still feels really constrained.

    I can’t wait for the game in which it truly is impossible to experience everything it has to offer due to the sheer scale.

  2. I should point out that I’m fairly certain planets are numbered by orbit and not by actual sequence. That is to say there are a number of orbits in the system which by the laws of physics a planet sized object *could* occupy. Needless to say, in most systems, many of the orbits are, in fact, quite empty but they exist all the same because physics says they do. If I’m not mistaken, the number a planet is given corresponds to its orbit number and not to the number of other planets that come before it. It’s wonderfully obtuse.

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