Starfarer Alpha Released!

If you’ve pre-ordered, you can download the game using one of the links below. To run the Linux version, unzip, cd starfarer, and then run ./ 

Thank you for your support! If you have any trouble with the game, don’t hesitate to send me an email (the contact into is on the right sidebar). Read on after the break for some notes about the alpha.

Download the alpha for your OS from a link on this page.

It’s been quite a busy month getting Starfarer ready for an alpha release. We’ve gone through no less than three UI incarnations in that time alone, as well as countless gameplay and mechanics adjustments. But now, it is finally ready!

Without further ado, allow me to present to you the Starfarer alpha.

The alpha includes 6 combat missions of varying difficulty and a tutorial. The tutorial explains combat & piloting basics, but does not touch on the “warroom” (which is the tactical interface you use to to give orders to your fleet, toggled with the Tab key). Warroom controls are roughly similar to RTS controls, but if they’re giving you trouble, your best bet might be the manual. We’ll be sure to include a warroom tutorial at some point, it’s just not in yet.

You can also do some modding, if you’re so inclined (custom missions).

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 29th, 2011 at 8:49 pm and is filed under Development, Releases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. *gasp*
    How terribly exciting! Downloading as I type.

    by Memphis-Ahn
  2. Downloading. Hyperventilating. CANNOT WAI — download done! Don’t have to wait anymore! WOOOOOOO…

    by Seth
  3. Awesome πŸ˜€

    I want to hear if anyone else can beat the “impossible” mission.

    by dgbaumgart
  4. Braggart! I’m not sure I should admit it, but *I* can’t do that one, and David can. Grrr.

    by Alex
  5. Hey, I don’t just draw spaceships πŸ˜‰

    (And yeah, I’m going to keep rubbing it in.)

    by dgbaumgart
  6. Great to see the alpha is out! Downloading as I type.

    by Avan
  7. YAAAAY!!!!! soooo happyyy!!!!!!!
    yay yay yay yay yay!!!
    (when i saw the email i started jumping and yelling “yay”)

    by Glen
  8. Awesome.
    Downloading now.
    Can’t wait to try the impossible level πŸ™‚

    by Ocid
  9. grrr… i cant even beat the medium mission… (though, i did only try it once or twice)

    by Glen
  10. I hear you – in retrospect, that one is a lot closer to hard than it is to medium, so don’t feel too bad about that πŸ™‚

    by Alex
  11. […] Starfarer Alpha is out. And guess who pre-ordered? This guy. […]

    by Oh Man
  12. Is there a bug reporting system built into the game?

    by Mike
  13. I’m really glad you’re progressing so well on this awesome looking game. I never play mission based games so I’ll not preordering until I see some progress on the open world stuff but well done anyway! Keep up the good work!!

    by IMakeWeirdThings
  14. I managed to get a Pyrrhic Victory on the ‘Impossible’ mission. XD

    I think with a slight adjustment of my tactics, it should be possible to win with something greater than 0%.

    by Avan
  15. @Mike: Nope. It’d be nice to have one, just couldn’t take time away from anything else to work that in! So for now, it’s email/twitter/etc.

    @IMakeWeirdThings: Thanks!

    @Avan: <mutter> Pretty soon I’ll be the only one around here not to have beaten it.

    by Alex
  16. I think that omni shields should be set up so that they will stay up without holding down the right mouse button like all other shields, as well as having it dismissed by a second press of the right mouse button, rather than requiring it to be held down. (The current setup causes the shields to de-activate if you enter the warroom, and it means someone used to operating fixed and full shields will not be used to the click-hold behavior.

    I also started work on my own mission.

    by Avan
  17. Ohh, great idea – going to try that out ASAP and see how it plays.

    Really looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the mission, too!

    by Alex
  18. Out of curiosity, are you planning on putting a forum up here?

    Also, I think my favorite moment so far was in testing my mission, my Conquest overloaded fighting a pair of Onslaughts (I had run out of LRMs already on the first of the four Onslaughts in the mission) and a torpedo from a nearby condor was heading straight at me, so I managed to turn so that it would go between the prongs, buying me just enough time to get my shields up mere pixels before it impacted me.

    by Avan
  19. Re: forum – seems like it might be a good to get one set up in the near future.

    I do love those torpedo near-misses myself.

    By the way, tried out the shields idea – it’s great! Back in early dev, there was another type (“directional”) that was kind of like that, but stayed in the direction you raised it in. This is like a good mix of that and the omni type – best of both.

    Now, to teach the AI to use it right… I swear, every gameplay improvement yanks the rug right out from under it.

    by Alex
  20. This is what I wanted Gratuitous Space Battles to be! Love the game so far, glad I pre-ordered. Like the particle effects and general style.

    As suggested by Avan please change the holding down the mouse button on the omni shield to a toggle.

    by Tubs
  21. Adding weapons to the ship tooltips, would really help in figuring out what they are up to.

    Awesome epic game so far, surpassed expectations.

    by aaaa
  22. Will we be able to eventually change the weapon groupings?

    I see there is an option to reconfigure your flagship in the mission selection screen, but its always greyed out, and how could you re-assign them on a different ship in-combat?

    by Avan
  23. Hello,

    I wanted to say this game sounds great. I was wondering do you have any plans on bringing this game out on the 360 as a XBLA game or as a PSN game for the PS3 or NGP?

    by Cool
  24. @Tubs: Done in dev version.

    @aaaa: I’ll see if I can add that w/o making it a huge wall of text. It’s been on the todo list for a while πŸ™‚

    @Avan: You’ll be able to change weapon groupings as part of outfitting the ship, not in combat. That “Refit” button is greyed out because the feature isn’t implemented yet – but it’s high on the list.

    @Cool: Thanks! Probably not, and definitely not in the near future.

    by Alex
  25. This is fantastic, Alex. I played for at least six hours over the weekend, and I’ve beaten every mission except the impossible one. If you manage to turn out a sandbox game mode of the same quality as what we’ve seen in this amazingly-polished early build, this will easily earn a spot in my list of favorite games. No pressure πŸ˜‰

    by Will
  26. Awesome game so far. It’s really hard! I’m struggling with the first mission. πŸ™‚

    Love to see the modding support right off the bat as well. I’ll certainly be playing around with that.

    Also, is there any particular place we should report crash or bug reports (not that I’ve had problems yet)? Just in case.

    by Magicked
  27. I can guess it on the todo, but being able to change the keys (WASD) would be realy great (non us keyboard user here)
    So far, i feel like playing Tyrian-eve online-Aiwars, which is a major win

    by Rompom
  28. @Will: Thanks! No pressure, huh? Whew, dodged one there.

    @Magicked: Email via “Contact Us” link on the right, for now.

    @Rompom: Indeed, it’s on the TODO list. Hopefully next version, at least in text file form.

    by Alex
  29. In testing out mission modding, I discovered that the trident will automatically retreat the moment it is deployed. Is this some kind of AI bug?

    by Avan
  30. Is the Trident wing heavily outnumbered? If so, the enemy admiral is simply thinking better of fighting and is calling it a day early.

    by Alex
  31. It happened even when I deployed them from my fleet to test it out, and we were about evenly matched.

    by Avan
  32. Ah, is it possible that the group they were deployed to had been given the retreat order before, then?

    Hmm, actually, I think I know what happened – as you deploy more ships, they deploy further off the map, but for fighters that results in automatic retreats past a certain point. The offset goes down with time, but you’d probably had a couple of deployments in very short order, and so that kicked in. I’ll see if I can fix that up – even if that’s not the case for you, it’s still a bug πŸ™‚

    by Alex
  33. This game is AWESOME!

    Even the Alpha is a better game, than many games I have played over the last few years.

    A few thoughts after playing 4-5 missions:

    1. Why not change the Pause button to the SPACE bar. It is used for this in many games and itΒ΄s very convenient to use it coupled with WASD

    2. Somehow the TAB and F button mechanic feels unintuitively to me. I play on a Mobile Computer with a touchpad, so I play the game less like a shooter and more like an RTS. It confuses me every time to press TAB to check on the action and unwillingly find myself at the helm of my flagship.

    by Maxim
  34. ah ok, thanks! that does seem to be the cause for the problem!

    by Avan
  35. This is a fantastic piece of work already, even if so far I can only beat the easiest mission. >.>

    It seems like some weapons fire continuously when you hold the mouse button down, and others fire on releasing the mouse button. This was a problem in one mission, because one of my weapon groups included weapons of both types.

    I’d probably prefer if all weapons just fired as fast as possible when I hold the mouse button down, unless I’ve got them set to what MechWarrior calls chain fire. <.<

    by Jay
  36. Your game looks really promising and you might want to look into releasing a playable version of the alpha to grab some more interest and convince those who are undecided.

    by Jackson
  37. I have problems with starting it on linux, it says:

    Exception in thread
    AWT-EventQueue-0″ java.lang.NullPointerException
    at com.fs.starfarer.StarfarerLauncher.actionPerformed(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.AbstractButton.fireActionPerformed(Unknown Source)

    What should I do?

    by Ace
  38. @Jay: Looking at this is on our todo list. For groups that are mixed like that, though, it’s best to just use them in autofire mode. They probably wouldn’t do well in manual mode regardless of how the firing worked.

    @Jackson: Thanks! We definitely will, further down the line.

    @Ace: Sorry to hear that! Sent you an email.

    by Alex
  39. Just bought your game. I love it but am getting easily destroyed on the 2nd mission. There definitely needs to be some sort of “fly in formation” or “guard” order. My flagship gets swarmed with bombers / heavy fighters and there’s no one to shoot them down :'(

    by Blips
  40. Also, it’s somewhat disheartening to see allied ships fly into my (stationary) ship when the shields are up and explode.

    by Blips
  41. A guard order would be great, mostly to order my fighters to cover for my capships automatically.

    For the second mission, you shouldn’t send your flag ship in right away, you need to send in stuff capable of securing objectives & taking out the bombers (Small light ships & the like)

    So far I have made a ‘medium’ mission that involves a 1 on 1 Onslaught battle, and a ‘hard’ mission that involves a big fleet battle The best score I have gotten on the hard one is 86% – I think its almost impossible to get 100%.

    by Avan
  42. Putting fighters in the same group as larger ships makes them guard them, though they tend to stray a fair bit. Often, they *need* to – for example, to stop enemy bombers, interceptors need to meet them well away from the bombers’ intended target.

    by Alex
  43. Feels pretty polished so far. The camera is a tad disorienting at first (when the ship is facing the bottom of the screen, left is right and right is left) – any plans to experiment with either a rotating camera, or perhaps a mouse only waypoint based control scheme? (waypoint based schemes might feel more true to the helm-of-a-giant-ship experience)

    by Brian
  44. […] Molotov z niezale?nego studia Fractal Softworks og?osi? udost?pnienie wersji alpha gry Starfarer, kosmicznej strzelanki 2D z elementami RPG i strategii […]

  45. looks good although i hope for the full game missions will not be this hard or have an diffculty option could only beat 2 and 1 was luck the big ship got stuck between wrecks and killed its self :)waiting for full game now ty for a look at it

    by Stonehand
  46. Thanks for your advice Avan. Playing the game more like an RTS, and focusing on controlling the various relays definitely seems to be of a high priority.

    Now onto the hard mission.

    by Blips
  47. @Brian: We actually tried a rotating camera for kicks during early development, and… let’s just say it didn’t turn out very well.

    The current control scheme is familiar to a lot of people that have played the old classics (from Asteroids to Star Control), and I think one gets used to it fairly quickly – though of course that varies from person to person.

    Interesting idea about capital ships controlling differently. For now, though, I think we’ll stick to one control scheme to avoid extra complexity.

    @Stonehand: There’ll be an overall difficulty setting that affects how much damage your ships take. “Normal” will be 100%, with easier settings for when you want a more forgiving experience.

    by Alex
  48. We’ve got a forum set up!

    by Alex
  49. Saw Dominic’s video. Really well made game guys, keep the awesome, detailed work up!

    This game could already be a hit with the current features, I believe; but are you planning to include ship designing? It’d blew my mind with highly customizable module & weapon options!

    All the bests,

    by Xenoph
  50. Thanks! Yeah, for sure – ship designing is coming fairly soon (at least, in the form of being able to outfit your flagship for each mission).

    by Alex
  51. Greetings!

    I pre-ordered it and i love the game so far, cant wait to see more updates to it πŸ˜€

    Also i have a gaming channel if you guys want to check it out, Im testing a lot of different kind of game right now 2 but im a 4 day old channel. I have a lot of game mainly from Indie devs! Check me out and sub if you want to see more Indie game!

    by Jocan2003
  52. @Xenoph: we’ve already managed to get custom ship in-game by hand. down the line there will be an editor that can streamline the process, but for now, you can check out our experimentation documented here:

    by Avan
  53. Wow, that’s some seriously awesome work you all did there, Avan.

    Love that you could add weapons and shields right off the bat, didn’t expect the game to be such moddable. And of course, +1 for tools. Keep this line guys!

    by Xenoph
  54. HELP

    I preordered the game and downloaded the alpha but the game runs too fast. I mean it’s like trying to play an old dos game that hasn’t been optimised to work with a new system. The ships are just a blur and the fps counter says 1500+. Why isn’t this happening to anyone else!? What do I do?

    by bertle
  55. My apologies for the trouble. Your video card has vsync forced off – if you turn it back on, the game will run normally.

    We’ve already fixed this for the next release – but for now, just turn vsync on in your system’s graphics settings.

    by Alex
  56. […] that the alpha has been out for a couple of weeks, you might be wondering what new features and changes are coming in the near […]

  57. hi,I need serial number to play alpha???

    by John
  58. Yeah – you get access to the alpha (and all subsequent builds, up to and including the full version) by preordering.

    by Alex
  59. so i need to buy alpha(demo)???

    by John
  60. It’s not a demo. If you’re interested in finding out more, do take a look at the preorder page.

    In particular, by preordering, you get the game at a discount from the full price.

    by Alex
  61. Any eta on 0.34a? I’m kinda eager πŸ˜‰

    by PyckenZot
  62. Very soon πŸ™‚ Perhaps as early as Friday night.

    by Alex
  63. Hello –
    Congratulations on the progress of this game! I am downloading linux version now, and look forward to trying it out & preordering.

    You may consider removing or updating the download links on this post, since they are now out of date.

    by gare
  64. Thanks!

    Good call, updated the link. Rather, changed it to point to the preorder page (that has the updated download links) instead.

    by Alex