dogfight inside a nebula

What is Starsector?

Starsector is a single-player sandbox style space role-playing game with strategic elements.  That’s quite a mouthful, though, so here’s what it boils down to – fly around with your highly customizable fleet, explore, build stuff, blow stuff up, advance your character.  The goal is to give you lots of meaningful choices in a malleable world.

When is Starsector coming out?

When it is ready. We are not Blizzard though, so this doesn’t mean 5+ years.  Naturally, our entire team is committed to releasing Starsector as soon as possible (for one, we really want to play it ourselves!), and we are hoping the community will take part in that process as well. To that end, we’ve released an alpha version, with it and all subsequent versions available as part preordering the game.

Will there be a multiplayer mode?

No. There are two main reasons – one is that MP and SP often have conflicting design goals. In brief, what makes a SP game fun may not work for an MP game, and vice versa. The other reason is the amount of time and effort to add it – which is very significant. We’d rather focus on making the SP as good as we can, instead of spreading our efforts too thin.

Aren’t you worried about piracy?

Oh yeah, big time.  That’s why we put actual piracy in the game as a mechanic – to ward off the evil, real world software piracy.  That dark voodoo will definitely work better than any other DRM scheme. That, and chicken sacrifices.  Note: we do not condone chicken sacrifices.

I have two PCs I want to run the game on. Can I use the same activation key on both?

Yes, absolutely.

What does “classic” mean?

We are glad you asked.  Let’s use a food analogy: Take a slice of Star Control, mix it with cubed Master of Orion 2, add in a dash of MechWarrior and stir it all up in our special development pot.  As indie developers and old school gamers we are going back to the Golden Age of Gaming with our design choices and presentation.  Of course, if you load up one of those games now you may be cringing at the graphics.  That’s where our modern game engine and art department come in.  In addition, sound effects and music really set the stage for a memorable experience.

What kind of computer do I need to run the game?

Linux, Mac, or a PC.  Exact specs are hard to pin down, but we’ll make every effort to keep them as low as possible. You will need a display that supports at least a 1024×768 resolution, however.

What kind of weapons are in the game?

Allow me to showcase just one weapon from each of the three categories currently in the game:

“Hephaestus” Assault Gun

Fires large-caliber high explosive rounds.  Medium range and muzzle velocity, but a decent turn rate.  Has a hard time hitting small ships and fighters, but not nearly as much as the Hellbore cannon.

Roles: assault, strike

Tactical Laser

Light medium-range laser.  Poor damage and turn rate, but good energy efficiency for an energy weapon.  Good support weapon for small craft, especially in prolonged engagements.

Roles: fire support

Sabot SRM

Three racked Sabot-class short range missiles.  The warhead detonates at a preset range from the target and launches a high-velocity kinetic projectile.  Excellent at bringing down enemy shields and causing an overload, but somewhat underwhelming if it actually hits enemy armor.

Role: fire support

Let me stop here.  I will just say there are currently 31 weapons in the game with more added every build.

What is the combat gameplay like?

You have direct command of your flagship, and can give orders to the officers aboard the rest of your fleet.  Their personalities and skills play a role in how well they execute those orders – for example, you probably don’t want a suicidal maniac doing long-range fire support. Your tactical objectives vary widely, from search and destroy to escort, escape, hold the line, etc.

What will the strategic gameplay be like?

You start small, with only one ship.  You have a couple of ways to progress – build up your personal ship, expand your fleet, invest in an outpost or two on a resource-rich planet, or any mix of the above. You’ll also want to build up your character in a way that works well with your chosen path.

Can you say more about the economic model?

The economic model in Starsector strives for one thing – to let you make meaningful choices.  For example, you know a planetary system has a certain illegal, secret weapons shipment headed its way. If it arrives, the rebels there will destabilize the planet, making it a ripe target for takeover. Do you wait, biding your time until the weapons hit the streets? Do you intercept the shipment and gain good will with the planet’s governor?  Or do you join the smugglers with a shipment of your own to speed up the planet’s downfall? The choice is yours.

Is there a newsletter email I can sign up for, so you can spam me?

Yeah – the signup form is on the right sidebar. Just scroll up a bit and it’ll be right there. We’ll send out an email every time there’s a new release, so it’s a great way to stay on top of that.

I want to put up a Starsector video on YouTube, or another video service. Do I have permission to run advertisements on it for the purpose of monetization?

Yes, absolutely.

I have a different question.

Let’s hear it!  Leave a comment on the blog, or send an email to fractalsoftworks [at] gmail.com.

the aftermath