Starforge is – so far as we know at this time – an entirely procedurally-generated first/third-person sci-fi survival/construction game. Yes, alright, I’m going to say “Minecraft in space”, though that’s a very loose sort of description.
This release (whose announcement was enough to take down the Web-servers for the game) shows off a little of this indie title in its earliest playable form.
There are essentially two broad classes of games that sell. There are the so-called ‘AAA’ titles, which might be big financial hits or big financial flops, and there are ‘ordinary’ titles – games with a lower production value, but significantly less financial risk involved. In times past, those ordinary titles have been the mainstay of the games industry, sometimes incurring modest losses, but more often providing the steady income that offsets the big flops in a publisher’s ‘AAA’ stable.
With big publishers increasingly focusing on those ‘AAA’ titles and shying away from those mainstay games, money is left on the table. Money that Indie devs are well-suited to pick up.
This game (currently in alpha) reminds me partly of making Redstone circuits in Minecraft, and partly of some of the more complex and ambitious scripted systems in Second Life – where object oriented programming can involve actual visible objects, and motion and colour can be used to monitor or debug system states.
The 13th IGF is drawing to a close this year, and the list of finalists provides some very stiff competition, particularly with the likes of Minecraft and SpyParty in the mix.
Check out the list of finalists, and maybe even try one or two of them out.
For the last little while, I’ve been meaning to write something about Minecraft. About how the limitations breed creativity and how simple, approachable, and rock-solid systems (even though it is a rolling alpha) provide a supportive foundation for complex creation.