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Star Command First Video!

By on October 16th, 2012 1:03 pm

Star Command

Hello fellow Space Sector fans! Today we saw the War Balloon team release their first Star Command walk through play video where we get a peak at the game play mechanics.

It is interesting that FTL and Star Command share the basic premise, which is you are in charge of a star ship and have to manage the crew and its equipment. However the similarities end there, and it is indeed a good time to be an aspiring star ship captain. Star Command successfully ran their Kickstarter campaign for both the mobile version (iOS and Android phones and tables), and PC/Mac versions.

Warballoon mentioned that Star Command would possibly be released by end of summer 2012, however since that has already passed, they are sticking to their guns by saying “When it is ready damnit!”

More power to them, as we have all seen our share of failed launches with SotS2 and LoP. The interesting thing to note is that there has not been too much anger over the delay, I think us fans recognize that getting the game right is imperative for making that first impression. Let me know what your opinion is in the comments section about crowd funded projects missing deadlines? Because essentially the project backers are the “Chairman of the Board”, and thus it is they who the developers have to please.

What about the game?

The game looks like an FTL with more detail, and a different approach to combat. Like in FTL having crew members man the various engineering, and weapons rooms gives your ship a bonus. However ship to ship combat is different in that it is ran like a mini game kind of like the ancient classic Namcot Battle Fleet where you use timing and button mashing skills to score hits. This seems to be the fundamental difference with FTL, which is more tactical. Time will tell which approach people will prefer.

The crew management seems like a step up with customization options, and more of an RPG like feel to crew development and their skills and ranks. Where in FTL your crew basically just gets more bonuses to their specialty up to level 3 max, Star Command has more RPG like depth.

Tactical combat in Star Command also seems more detailed, where you have more open spaces and fight in an isometric view kind of like X-COM. While don’t think there are equipping options like X-COM, I am hoping maybe you can specialize some crew to be your “Marines” who specialize in fighting on ships.

The overall adventure also seems to be more RPGesque unlike FTL, which is roguelike with random encounters. This seems to be the differentiation, where FTL is more focused on provided a “Star Trek” like experience.

I am personally ready to buy in the iOS and backed the PC version, so hopefully we will get it before the end of year. They say they are done with about 11/17 of the missions, and have some other polish to put on Star Command. In my opinion this is a game that is one to watch out for, and seems to be the way a Kickstarter project should be ran. Release the game when it is ready.

It is interesting to note that the iOS kickstarter “only” got $36K, while the PC version got over $150K! Maybe it was due to the publicity of the first campaign? While both were above their target, it is certainly a kick in the face to those claiming “PC Gaming” is dead.

For more information on Star Command check the mobile and PC/Mac kickstarter pages and the game’s official website.

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  1. Hypnotron says:

    I never did like teleporters. If you can teleport onto a ship, why not just teleport the enemy into space instead? Or why can’t you detect enemy teleporting on board and then scramble the “beam”. The only real reason it exists in Trek is to shorten travel times to surface or to other ships. Or why not just teleport a bomb? Or why not just teleport plague ridden cockroaches, rats or mosquitos or anything. Teleporter defenders trip all over themselves trying to explain why they make any type of sense whatsoever.

    • Kyle Rees says:

      I agree with you. Although I thought that you have to have shields down in order to teleport. That is one gripe I have with FTL, if I remember correctly you can teleport through shields. I think there needs to be severe restrictions to make teleporters not op.

    • caekdaemon says:

      They actually do something similar to that in an episode of Star Trek Enterprise. They beam out another ships power distribution manifolds using the teleporter, completely disabling the target ship.

  2. Hypnotron says:

    As for the game, not too impressed. Somehow it looks klunky and hodge podge. The game seems to be geared towards combat (because there is shit all to do otherwise) but yet the combat is basically not scifi ship combat at all. It’s a lame mini-game and the interior combat is laughably bad.

    The game looks like it could be a real game, but the actual game play seems almost non existance. I suspect they are cutting features left and right just to get to some release date and to avoid running through their kickstarter money which perhaps they are viewing as profit somehow that need to be locked away instead of spent on development.

    That is one of the potential problems with kickstarter projects. There’s an incentive to hold back spending of the raised funds because your customers have already paid and you fear whether you’ll be able to make more once you release it so do you spend all the money and fail and wind up with nothing, or do you release it early so you have some funding for the next project?

    • Kyle Rees says:

      It all remains to be seen, I am am leaning towards a well polished game. Keep in mind what they describe Star Command as a Game Dev story meets sci-fi. For those of you unaware of Kairosoft’s amazing GameDev Story, it is basically a game software business sim. However, it focuses on increasing your crew’s skills to make better games.

      This seems to be the focus of Star Command, where it is about crew development first, and starship exploration and combat second.

      You do raise a great point on Kickstarter and how to manage the funds. From the crowd point of view you want the reward that you paid for with your pledge. I think it is fair to expect something that was originally described.

      I have not looked into Kickstarter’s policy on how the funds should be used? Is it fair to assume the funds should all go towards development, or also to support the developers? Should they have to disclose that before hand, as some do, like 75% will go towards development and the 25% towards feeding ourselves.

      I welcome a reply from a Kickstarter expert on this subject. =) I have no time to dig into their policies atm.

    • Fimbul says:

      well the game looks like it have potential. but all i see so far is stupid crew behavior and boring combat. everything is made for pad’s and phones, sorry, but just too have such huge corridors feels only stupid to me. a ship nearly just made of corridors, hurray!!!

      concerning kickstarter, it’s quite a new model and hard to say how the projects evolve, that’s something the future will show. well there is one finished project, FTL, it’s not bad, but really no 200’000 dollar game.

  3. Hypnotron says:

    The game does have serious long term potential though.

    They could have worlds to explore (make it somewhat like Star Trek 25th Anniversary Edition point and click adventure), stations, star fleet academy training episodes for the tutorial campaign, and better ship operations.

    Right now the ship operations seem confusing and random. People are just walking around seemingly with no point, or standing around doing nothing. Because the game resembles Trek (red, blue, yellow) watching a very un-trek like behavior of the crew causes a clash in my mind.

    Fires start and nobody is putting them out. Friendly aliens beam on board and just start randomly walking everywhere. They dont even run away from the enemies and the enemies just stand around doing nothing but shoot where they stand.

    There’s this funky feeling of the game being a simulation but with a very very weak simulation of anything.

  4. Hypnotron says:

    Sorry for spamming with all these posts.

    last thing i wanted to say was that I think the parody direction it’s going quickly feels like a running gag that stops being funny after the first 60 seconds. They need to focus on being a better simulation.

  5. lammaer says:

    “The game does have serious long term potential though. ”

    This is what I don’t like to hear and hate when people give good review because of that. It is very rare that a game is supported long enough to see this long term potential in action. Normally the long term means couple DLCs, and then comes episode 2-3…. Huge changes after the release are rare like the white crow.

  6. Chris Biot says:

    Well, I am quite sceptical after this video. It seems so boring, somehow it lacks any depth to it.

    The asthetics and concept are nice, it looks fairly great. But the minigame looks really boring, also there seems just a lack of in-depth mechanics.

    Although it is easy to make assumptions if you have not played the game yet. We will see how this turns out.

  7. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Shut up and take my money!!!

    Seriously though, its a game that I want to have on my android. Please don’t neglect android, I don’t want to get stuck on my pc playing this game.

    Darn it I have never been excited about an iOS/android game since ever. This is the first and only game so far that really interested me in playing android/ios game seriously

  8. Ashbery76 says:

    Where is the gameplay in that video? That firing mini game is pretty awful.

    FTL did it beter.

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