Simulators are a dime a dozen from farming to truck driving, everything can be experienced in video games. Few simulators however allow you to build from the ground up and allow you to be the architect, engineer and manufacturer all in one go. Starship Corporation, a starship-building simulation game created by developer Coronado Games and published by Iceberg Interactive allows you to do just that.
Here's over 20 minutes of gameplay from Starship Corporation.
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We recently got our hands on the preview build to the upcoming Steam early access game. Set in a technological advanced age where space travel is the norm, players are tasked with setting up a Starship building company in which you must design and build spaceships for a galaxy-wide market. Once designed, players can test their ships in real time strategy missions that include disaster control and combat simulations.
The full version of the game plans to have the ability for players to create their own fleets, engage in missions and have military conquests both in singleplayer and multiplayer. Currently the game only showcases the design and simulation aspects as well as having only one solar system to run your empire in. The full version will have an entire galaxy to expand into allowing players to run multiple facilities at once.
Currently in an early alpha state, Starship Corporation only has the singleplayer sandbox mode available. This mode allows players to choose their own end game goal, be it unlocking all technologies, reaching a certain amount of wealth or fulfilling an end game market contract. You are also able to select your starting difficulty in the form of selecting your starting funds and credit limit.
After setting up my office in the only system available, I hit the market to pick up a contract to earn some cash. Each contract has a detailed description of what technology is required and numerous statistics that the end build should meet, such as cargo capacity. Successfully completing contracts will earn much needed money and reputation, which will allow you to obtain more prestigious contracts that while being more difficult, have a much higher reward.
Before picking up a contract I decided to hit the technology research tab to research some of the lower tier tech, making sure I was not lacking on the first few contracts. The game’s time speed can be sped up, slowed down and paused to suit your needs. After maxing the speed, I quickly researched a cargo hold, docking clamps and new fuselage and some sensors. I soon realized that a few weeks had passed and my company was starting to bleed money. It was time to pick up my first contract which was for a small transport vessel.
The ship design section is almost like a level builder in an old DOS game. It’s all about placing down various square and rectangular ship parts onto a gridded map which represents your chosen fuselage, then connecting them all up with hatches and corridors. There are over 50 room types under six categories in the game currently which includes everything from pilot quarters to nuclear space reactors.
The placing of rooms is important to how the ship will function such as placing technicians living quarters near the engine to make sure they are on hand for malfunctions. Placing down rooms isn’t enough to make your ship after all, space travel requires air, water, power and fuel. As the designer you have to set up powerlines and connect water, air and cooling.
Each design gives you a checklist of requirements that are updated as you build and helps pick out potential problems such as mission room connections. The design process is a fairly simple affair once you understand the basics of Starship design, which is all detailed in the step by step tutorial. After the design is finished, you run it through a basic simulation check to get the greenlight on system status.
Once everything was go, I headed to the crew management section that allows you to run a simulation mission with RTS mechanics. Currently the simulations run basic hardware malfunctions that you can manually place your crew to fix but you can also set up patrols which is useful for having the crew perform regular checks on the entire ship. The real-time strategy portion is not feature complete and for the time being is a fairly basic feature that doesn’t require much of a hands on approach. Once a mission is competed the ship receives a rating based on the end status of the ship.
Finally, I was able to complete my first contract with my small poorly designed transport vessel. It was leaky, ran into several major malfunctions during tests and was probably held together by chewing gum. On the Brightside, the client wouldn’t know until it was too late and I was getting paid, so it was a win for my little company.
No modding support has been even hinted at for Starship Corporation however it seems like a game that could heavily benefit from player generated content. Players creating their own fuselages and technology could be a very interesting feature for the title.
OS: Windows Vista SP2 or newer, 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2,4 Ghz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: 256 MB DX 9 Compliant videocard with pixel shader 3,0
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 2 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible Audio
There’s not much in the way of graphical options available other than a screen resolution change however, it does allow for key binding changes. The game is being developed on the GameMaker engine after the developer created the prototype on the engine and wanted to continue using it.
Starship Corporation is yet to have a hard release date for the full version with the developers stating that they hope to be out of early access at the end of 2016. The early access version is set to launch on April 29th 2016.
Ultimately Starship Corporation is a game that is heavy on Stats of building galaxy faring ships. It is looking to combine elements of building games with RTS and simulation. What the game currently has is fun, if you enjoy designing vehicles and running risk assessments. While it is heavy on the mathematics of space travel, crew management and space by cubic tons, it remains accessible for everyone.
I enjoyed the process of proofing my space faring vessel. Trying different layouts and then putting them to the test was somewhat rewarding. The downside is that this whole process can become repetitive and having a more streamlined system would be to the games advantage. As a Starship business simulator, the game is well on its way to being something that could be fun for people looking to cure that particular itch.
The real-time strategy portion of the game is far too underdeveloped at this stage to be considered engaging. The implementation of combat and multiplayer in the future may well be the juice it needs, but for the time being, it remains the weakest element of the game.
Most Anticipated Feature: Multiplayer… Once the game is more fully developed, multiplayer is where the longevity and replayability of the game will be. The singleplayer sandbox mode is all well and good for learning the ins and outs, but multiplayer is probably where the true test will come.