Or at least in mine they did. Granted that was 2 or 3 alpha patches ago, but still, it is pretty fucking likely. The concept is this: you build a spacebase. To start you pick a sector of a spiral galaxy, like our own, and launch a pod out there. And when I say ‘pick a sector’, I mean it. You have this yellow glowie cross-hair that you guide along the picture of a galaxy as the readout relays four points of information: Stellar density, which controls how much matter is present at the game start and how often meteors hit your base, Warpgate Proximity, which dictates how often you get visitors to your base, Threat Level, which is how likely you are to get boarded by pirates and Magnetic Interference, which is how often derelict ships will randomly spawn outside your base. I always tend to choose a sector with a decently neutral standing in all four, so I can get a well-rounded Spacebase experience.
Now, I say you’ll probably die the first time, and it isn’t my lack of faith in you. But the help prompts that teach you what to do take a second or two to read and there are a few of them. By the time you realize you can hit the spacebar to pause it and still dictate orders, there is a good chance 5 of the 8 minutes of starting air in your citizens’ space suits will have run out as your citizens marvel at the star-strewn void. From there it is a trainwreck on a timer as you struggle to understand and then implement what you need to do to actually get a jump on things. Like the developers were like, “Heh heh, wait two prompts before mentioning the air supply” so they could imagine you going “Oh, fuck, we need to breate!” and building a slapdash airlock with duct tape. My first time I was enjoying the setup of corridors between rooms before everyone suffocated. Then I said, O! I can make oxygen recyclers! Now worries, though, it doesn’t take away from all the fun of it! Just takes you out of the game a second so you can admire the amazingly sarcastic humour of the developers as the “Spaceface” logs the citizens issue range from whimsical to darkly hilarious while their faces turn blue. I get the feeling that this game was made by Brits, cause the witty sarcasm comes into my head in an english accent. Just seems to fit. Also, don’t forget, that the little box you guys were shipped out to the ass-end of the black in can be torn apart so you can build a closet.
Once you get your guys doing push-ups in a fresh, new artificial environment, however, you’ll see just how important that little bit of matter really is. I mean, if you picked anything below neutral for Stellar Density your miners have to float like turd nuggets across a toilet bowl to get to the nearest asteroid. Quite entertaining. So you get your mass factory up and running, miners mine, security patrols, builders build and you still have aimless morons doing calisthenics in the life support room. Well, sleep turns out to be important. Oh yea, there is food too, but early on you learn that you can put food replicators in every room and to get fresh food, you need like everything else you can possibly build beforehand. So, you get to watch your matter bounce a little as people eat food made out of space rocks. While this happens, your proximity to the nearest warpgate becomes apparent as every asshole within a hundred lightyears comes by to sample your nutrient paste. No, that is not a blowjob joke. Also, derelicts appear out of nowhere that might harbor bugs, killbots raiders and god knows what else. Hopefully you’ve recruited someone that can shoot a gun or it’s rock-paper-scissors among your dumbass security team as to who goes into the dark foreboding derelict vessel first. And, while you can see everything on your base, derelicts appear as black, sharp-edged geometric shapes that might actually be leftovers from videogames of the last century. Should you have gotten a higher Stellar Density you’ll be thrilled with all the building materials, right up until you get bombarded by space debris every twenty minutes. No worries, though. When it happens a large target comes up a good time before the debris hits so you can get any citizens out of there. Granted, if they’re sleeping in a room that gets hit, you get to watch them wake up halfway through the event in a room full of smoke and alarms… if you built the alarm panels. Either way, they are going to be running out of there looking for the fire extinguishers… if you built them. Heh heh heh…
No. The fire extinguishers don’t really fire lasers. So the key here is anticipation. If you get your food replicators in early, you can keep them alive long enough to get them a pub and real food. But that leaves some other frustrating issues. Remember, though, this game is in Alpha! If you are easily frustrated by bugs, just walk on by the window. One of the biggies I have noticed is that it takes a fucking army of technicians to keep everything in working order. And even then someone might neglect to fix the airlock doors allowing everyone to get sucked into space and die. And the technicians won’t really fix it that much.. like 5%! And they still walk away from that shit for a cold beer like “Well I have done my civic fucking duty for the next twelve hours! Nothing bad will come of this!” They have tweaked it in some recent Patches, but it still feels like it takes half the fucking population to fix all the gear you have onboard. Then there are the stupid ass ways people can die. Like, are you pissed that you built a room shitty and just want to tweak it? Better get everyone out first! The builders will demolish a wall with a non-suited person in the room, sucking out all the air in the process. Your citizens will run around like lunatics and either a) run out the door to safety or b) dive out the breach into the frigid embrace of their own demise. I mean, the bodies don’t even stick around so you can harvest matter! Although, if your people die onboard (i.e. eaten by space bugs, killed by robots, build themselves into a room you forgot about and starve to death) their corpses just lay there as a grim reminder to all the others where it’s all headed. No morgue or medbay. Just pile the empty husks of your departed friends in the middle of the room. Your can’t even send them out the airlock. Me I’d want to eat them since you can’t raise any kind of animals onboard. Protein intake would be relegated to plantlife and your own ejaculate. But, hey, you can have a gym and videogames on the spacebase, so it’s not all bad! This is a fantastic example of a pre-release bonanza. The game is broken in ways. Many real and funny ways. Sure, you cleverly developed this habitat specifically for your various human and alien citizens. Now watch them all die in bizarre and horrible ways.
The thing that really really pisses me off about this game isn’t the glitches, though. It’s the fucking weird ass naming conventions! I mean this race of.. err.. space chickens…(?)… have names like Jeff 52938442. Yep. Luckily you can rename them, but when someone befriends the newly christened Jeffarious, it’ll say friends with Jeff 52938442. Yep. Annoying. There is also the matter of personalities. Each citizen has their own individual personality! Yay! They’re special! These personality traits dictate what job they will be happy in the longest. And NO ONE is happy as either a builder or a miner long. Regardless of how good they are at it. It used to be that this would lead to depression and eventually someone would “forget they were out of air” outside and suffocate to death. Then their friends would fall into depression and stop eating, then die. Eventually the whole base became a noncommittal, Sam Neil-less emo redux of Event Horizon. But with a fix, now we can move on after a death and maybe only their friends will jump out the airlock doors. Unfortunately, this means the state of the game as of this post boils down to a constant juggle where you want your people to be happy and do ‘fun’ jobs, but need to get shit done and have to force unskilled morons to do hard labor for a couple weeks at a time.
Overall, if you like simulations, laser battles and sci fi games, this is a great buy. A little pricey for an alpha game at 25 dollars American on Steam, but it’s Steam. If you are that stingy, just wait until it inevitably goes on sale.