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StarDrive Pre-Purchases Get Beta Access

StarDrive is now available for pre-purchase on Steam, offering the chance to get a 15% discount on Zero Sum Games' upcoming 4X space strategy game, as well as immediate access to the game's beta testing (thanks Mark). There's a StarDrive Beta Mission Statement on the game's website outlining the goals for the beta. Here's word: "StarDrive has a solid foundation and this Beta will demonstrate to you the full power of our engine. I am making this game for you. So tell me what you want. The best ideas that have the most support will get into the game. First I want to focus on usability features - things to make your life easier. But I also want to add more meat to the areas you most enjoy."

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12. Re: StarDrive Pre-Purchases Get Beta Access Mar 10, 2013, 22:22 Crustacean Soup
 
I took a chance and bought it. The game is pretty fun, though I can see there's room for balancing before release. Still making up my mind, but so far I'm liking it.

The game feels a bit more like a typical 4X and less like an RTS than does, say, SOASE.

You get a set number of tiles on planets on which to build improvements, and you can further specialize by tweaking the % of a planet's population that works on research, production, or food, and whether to import or export food and production. Freighters auto-trade resources or colonists between planets. You can have a pure research planet that depends on agriculture and mining planets to survive.

There's ship design (2D grid with parts), typical 4Xy diplomacy (with fairly reactive AI who declare war when you're weak, suck up when you're strong, etc.), and bog standard tree research, but all taking place in real time. There don't seem to be as many things to do to influence a battle. There are no RTSy unit powers or whatnot. You can try to micro, but there are so many fast-moving ships and so many different firing arcs...

Problems? Ships avoid engaging enemies in the same star system unless they're nearly adjacent or on "empire defense" mode (which does what it says if you forget to manually set up an AO). The research tree feels like it could be fleshed out a bit (or it's just too fast to move through it at the default Pace setting). I hit one event that unlocks some powerful ship parts, and it wasn't clear if the AI did too -- if they did, their designs weren't making great use of them. Launching/using troops is a little weird, and it seems a bit too easy to get them past enemy ships and straight to the planet. And it's easy to get into debt without noticing and then lose everything to rebels.
 
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