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Gratuitous Space Battles

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http://positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/index.html

So I've been following the development of that game for some months now, and was delighted yesterday when I noticed it went closed beta, with access granted for people pre-ordering the game. Instantly, I conveniently forgot my bank account was in the red already, and purchased it. No hassle, I ordered it from BMT, paying via paypal. Clicked, got an email with a link right away.

It is developed by single-man-company Positech games.

The game is quite simple, you design some space ships using various hull types and modules to defeat an AI fleet. You have access to fighter, frigate and cruiser hulls (around 4 of each type for each race, which all grant various bonuses), which you fit with modules and weapons ranging from plasma canons, beam lasers (any space game which has those has to be awesome!), good ol' blasters, various missiles, ECMs, armor, shields, engines, power generators, crew quarters...

Then you decide where your spaceships start the fight, give them their order and their priority targets. When you're confident enough with your battle plan, it's time to click the 'fight' button.

From then, don't expect any micro-management during the battle: your own fleet is under AI control, just like the ennemy, all you can do is watch your heavy cruisers slowly get into position, flanked by your frail frigates while the fighters rush towards their ennemy counterparts on a 2d battlefield.

Then all hell breaks loose, and all those well thought-out space ships get to use their powerfull weaponery, and hopefully grant you victory. Now don't worry, though you don't have any control over the outcome of the battle once it has begun, you're not going to get bored anytime soon: the battles are epic, the space crafts are beautifull, and most of the FX (2d sprites!) are jaw dropping. You can use time compression if needed, or freeze the game to see what's hapening (things can get a bit confusing when a dozen cruisers and their escort frigates start exchanging amabilities).

Once one of the fleet has been destroyed, or it is crystal clear it can't win anymore, you are taken to the debrief screen, with various stats about your ships and their performances in this battle. You earn some credits, unlock some modules, and you're ready for another battle!

There are around 10 pre-made battles which, once you've beaten them all, unlock additional races (you're limited to one at the beginning), depending on your difficulty setting.

Once you've beaten all the missions (or before that if you feel brave enough), you can of course try to beat other players' fleets.

So, I've been playing it for a few hours now (that is, from 6pm yesterday to now without sleep) and really feel like I didn't waste those 15Ç (18 thanks to VAT). It is worth noting that the game is still beta (as I said earlier, you can access the beta by pre-ordering the game), but it's an already well ironed-out beta, and there's some real support on the forum. It also seems very easy to mod (the main difficulty atm being the lack of documentation and dedicated modding tools) thanks to each ship, module and scenario being a simple .txt file. Oh, and there's no DRM.

I really recommend that anyone even remotely interested checks it at http://positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/index.html.

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I saw a video of this awhile back and was understandably impressed. I look forward to a demo.

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I picked this up on Stardock's Impulse today. It was on sale for $19.95 and you get to download the beta right away. I've only played a bit of it, but I'm impressed with it so far. It seems like there's going to be a lot of strategy to it.

-Sho

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