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StarDrive Heading to Steam for Pre-Purchase in 2 Months

By on September 13th, 2012 1:29 pm

StarDrive | Real-time strategy 4X game by Zero Sum Games

Daniel DiCicco from Zero Sum Games has announced that StarDrive is expected to be on Steam for beta pre-purchasing in a six to eight weeks period. Meaning that after being in alpha funding on Desura for a while, and then going through restricted game access, StarDrive will now be available again for pre-orders, which will give beta access by the end of October or beginning of November of this year.

From what I understand all Kickstarter backers will also be given access to the game on Steam. Probably at beta pre-purchase time for “closed-beta” kickstarter backers and to all backers when the game is officially released on Steam.

A box version of the real-time strategy 4X game was also announced previously by Iceberg Interactive, StarDrive’s publisher. But it’s still unclear if Steam will be always required to play the game or not. The fact that Dan has just confirmed StarDrive on Steam certainly leads to think that’s a strong possibility, but that lacks confirmation still.

Things are looking good for StarDrive. Keith has played the beta about a month ago and produced a hands-on beta preview, a great and thorough article that I invite you all to read. About StarDrive’s beta Keith had this to say: “If you take nothing else from this preview, I want you to know that my impression is that this game is a true labor of its creator’s passion, and therefore, it will dream big and succeed wildly because of it”.

For the ones of you that don’t know yet, StarDrive has successfully kickstarted in a time Kickstarter was still warming up. After that Dan went to Desura for alpha funding and opened alpha access to everybody there for a while. After that, game access was restricted. Now, in a six to eight weeks period, StarDrive will be again available for pre-purchasing, now on Steam for its beta and probably release officially still in 2012. A true glory road wouldn’t you say? To victory? We all certainly hope so.

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23 Comments


  1. Gary says:

    Nice to see a successful Kickstarter video game project from before the days of Double Fine Adventure :) It was slim pickings for developers before that: http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/the-year-of-the-game

    Adam, will you or Keith be doing a preview with the new beta in a couple months? That would help me determine whether to buy StarDrive or not. Nothing against Dan, but recent 4X releases have made me a bit gun-shy.

    And if anyone can say… is StarDrive closer to Star Ruler or Distant Worlds in complexity?

    Although I prefer turn-based, as long as a real-time game has pause, I can work with that :) I liked what I read in Keith’s article from August, so I’ll be looking forward to future reviews.

    • Keith Turner says:

      Hi Gary! Yes, I’ll likely be writing a beta preview update or possibly an AAR depending how long the beta extends for. I’ll also be doing a full review of course upon release.

      StarDrive is still undergoing changes on a daily basis, so it is difficult to say where it will land on the complexity scale when all is said and done. For instance, it was just within the last build or two that artifacts and other items were added to planets to be discovered. A minor faction was also added somewhat recently. Dan has been making a lot of changes and bug fixes. The AI and diplomacy AI is also still very much under development at this point. The next patch is promising some changes in these areas, and I am anxious to see them. There have also been a lot of usability and UI changes that have made things easier. For example, a view that shows you all of the planets you’ve explored that you can sort by fertility, production, or max population supported (though this can be increased with biospheres and such). CLicking on a planet now zooms you instantly to its location on the map should you want to see how far it is from your closest system or perhaps even want to mark it for colonization. This also works for your ships list which shows where all of your ships are. You simple click and you can zoom instantly over to them. These are the types of changes that are going the game a sleeker, more refined experience.

      As of the current version I’ve had a few bugs bring my games to a screeching halt. I’ve reported them, and the patch notes indicate they are likely fixed for the next release. I’m having fun with the game, but the AI is a pushover since it is still a WIP. Also, I’ve not completed a game due to the crashes and some other oddities. Still, it is fun to play, but not very challenging as of the current release. I still stand by my remarks that the potential is great and Dan’s support has been fantastic. He’s only one man with limited hours in the day though.

  2. Stormy says:

    Good news ! I have recently discovered space sector, and I am glad I did, it is amazing. You guys are doing an excellent job for the domain you cover.
    About Stardrive, you made me discover it and I am really eager to see how it will turn out. I saw the debacle of Pegasus, like SotS2, I have hesitated to dive in Distant worlds mostly because I reckon I would need to buy at least one, if not two addons in order to really enjoy the game to the fullest, which makes it quite expensive. All thanks to your article, I feel informed for my choices.
    Stardrive is one that seem really enticing. I might very much hop along in the pre-purchase train would more good news come along. I’ll be lurking ;)

    • Gary says:

      Stormy, actually for Distant Worlds, you really should buy all the expansions. Matrix recently had a sale for the game, so hopefully they’ll do it again.

  3. Smoking Robot says:

    Can someone please tell me what this sentence means?

    “Now, for everybody by the end of October beginning of November of this year.”

    • Adam Solo says:

      Sorry about that, it could be a bit confusing yes. I rewrote the first paragraph. Let me know if it is clearer now.

    • Keith Turner says:

      I think he just means that the original pre-order period was closed when Desura alpha-funding ended. Since then, the game has been unavailable to purchase. Now it will be available for beta purchase from Steam somewhere between the end of October or the beginning of November (within that two week time span or so).

  4. Keith Turner says:

    Dan was going to look into getting Desura alpha-funders steam keys. I asked him about this yesterday:

    “It will take some man-hours, but when the time comes if Desura alpha-funders want a steam key, I’ll do what I can to get one. I’m not sure exactly how that process works just yet.”

    I didn’t realize they’d be making an official announcement on the kickstarter page already. It’s certainly great news that the game will have more exposure before too long. I’ve left a few of my comments/thoughts above in my reply to Gary for those interested. I will be following up with another preview/review in the future for those interested.

  5. t1it says:

    Finally(almost)! I can’t wait to get my hands on this precious marble!

  6. kirth says:

    ¿how much will the preorder cost?
    I´m looking forward to play this game :3

    • Keith Turner says:

      Last I saw, and this was in early August, he was planning on somewhere between $20 and $30. Similar in price to Endless Space is what Dan said at that time. That was a month ago, so I’m not sure if anything has changed pricing wise since then.

      • kirth says:

        Thanks, i guess ill yust have to wait some more…

        For what i´ve seen so far, i would really buy this game as soon as i can, i can´t wait :{

  7. Soki says:

    The Steam DRM would put a dent in this otherwise very promising game. Hope there will be an other option. I would definetly pay more for a real game.

  8. SQW says:

    4X game is all about the sophistication of AI and the synergy between it’s various mechanics to help players imagine a believable universe – something that can’t be seen through a few selected screen shots or edited clips.

    After the all the 4X fiascos in 2012, I’m going to wait for a proper in-depth review of the game before even paying attention to the pre-order hyping.

  9. slyostinato says:

    Ahhh, it’s too bad that Dan DiCicco is hitching his wagon to Steam – not the best move. Hopefully, he will think outside the box and help people buy his game that take the time to contact him and tell him that they won’t do business with Steam. Case in point, I wanted this Rome:Total War-style RPS game from an indie studio in Canada (Longbow Games/Hegemony Gold), but was unwilling to buy it through Steam. I emailed them, told them I was uncomfortable with Steam purchases and we worked something out where they sent it to me as long as I sent them a blank CD to burn the game to. They even supplied me with my own serial number. Now, THAT is a gaming studio that listens to customers and makes things happen. They are coming out with a new Rome:Hegemony title next year (their first game took place in Ancient Greece); and because they were willing to work with me to buy their game “sans Steam”, I will gladly do business with them again and buy their upcoming game when it is released.

  10. Dan says:

    Great news indeed! The AI is looking pretty darn good right now. as SQW notes, the AI makes or breaks the 4x experience. If your opponents are brain dead then its just no fun. I am focusing right now on AI fleet movements and balancing them in a way that gives players the opportunity to have some epic fleet battles. I am already really pleased with their diplomacy interactions and i still have a bunch of great stuff to add there too. I think you guys will like the beta when you get to it. Now, back to work!

  11. Dan says:

    Oh, also we should be on a total of 40 different digital portals by the full release date, which should include some DRM free options.

    • slyostinato says:

      It’s good to hear that you are exploring other distribution avenues beyond Steam. Thanks…

    • SQW says:

      Steam unfortunately has regional pricing so being an Aussie, a lot of steam new release titles are easily 40-50% more expensive so half of my purchases come from Gamersgate or GMG.

      I think a lot of devs know that and unless the price across regions are similar or there’s a special deal with Valve, they will loose a lot of day-one sales if they go the steam-exclusive route.

      • Alex Ryden says:

        You know, I don’t think that is steam’s fault. I am by know means trying to make steam look like an amazing thing. It certainly has plenty of issues. But in this area, at least, it is the developers who are usually at fault. Steam does not determine pricing for the games, the developers do. Steam just sells the game. I may be entirely wrong about that, of course.

        • SQW says:

          If the game has a physical release through retail chains like EB, then the publishers definitely pressure either Valve or the dev to adopt regional pricing in order to protect their interest in the brick n mortar shops; anyone still buying PC games in-store in Australia is either extremely lazy or very uninformed.

          So yeah, I know this isn’t Steam’s fault. =)

          p.s. If the gaming industry works the way related businesses do, it’s the publisher, not the dev, who sets the price.

  12. Loyal_Viggo says:

    This game does look superb, so good in fact that I’m sitting here already destroying my foes WITH MY MIND.

    It’s exhausting so I just stopped and will wait for the game release to continue the destruction of my foes.


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