Cheap Fleets: AI War Fleet Command Almost Completely on Sale

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Your starting equipment in AI War: Fleet Command. You can’t afford to lose it!

I have the mind of a petulant child and the schedule of a grown man, it’s a horribly wonderful thing. Therefore, it’s hard to gaze at the abyss — an abyss of 30,000 idling ships, a hostile monolithic enemy, and a whole galaxy to retake — and not feel my fingers twitch. And ding! my phone reminds me to get the heck back on task.

AI War: Fleet Command is one of my favorite games of the past three years, and it’s as monumentally fascinating as it is difficult to approach. Its systems are fresh and new, and therefore strange and scary, but once you dive in, it’s extremely involving and frankly, there isn’t much like it.

And it’s on sale, nearly all of it, on Steam. The whole kit and kaboodle is under ten bucks. Roll call: Continue reading

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Because Stars Matter: Starshatter (Sci-Fi Flight Sim) is Free!

Entering orbit in an F-34D, a slower multi-purpose fighter.

Update

The original host site, Starshattermods.com, succumbed to hacking and is down. Hard Light Productions, a fantastic community that grew around Freespace Open, has generously taken up hosting the Starshatter forums here. Starshatter files are hosted in this thread. I still have some of the files, please let me know in the comments if you have any trouble obtaining them.

The Short

Starshatter: The Gathering Storm is a moderately complex, moderately realistic, spaceborne military flight sim that takes place in a series of dynamic campaigns. It won’t change your life, but it ain’t bad.

The Good:

  • it’s not too punishing or difficult. It strives for a moderate amount of realism, but offers an optional video-gamey control scheme
  • takes place in four dynamically shifting war campaigns, rather than a static set of missions or a bland open world design
  • graphics and sounds are good for such a small studio, but won’t blow your entire head off
  • receive promotions! Start flying fighter craft, and move upward to capital ships, even become an admiral and direct the course of the war.
  • heck, it’s FREE and open source!
  • fairly open to modding
  • rewards come after overcoming the learning curve, about 4-6 hours, perhaps less if you’ve flown flight sims before

The Bad:

  • a bit repetitive, a bit spare, a bit bland. It’s a quasi-military flight sim, there’s not a lot of character here.
  • lack of variety in ships
  • reportedly difficult and tedious to create your own missions
  • no multiplayer campaign

Read on for the review, or skip to the “Getting It” section for info on how to get it!

Continue reading

AI War: Pocket Reference

So, AI War: Fleet Command is quite an intimidating game. You’re in control of a growing number of units (from a few hundred to many thousands), against a pair of unpredictable AI personalities with the power to overwhelm you at a misstep. All progressing in real time. Oh, dear.

The game mitigates this by giving you semi-autonomous units that don’t need babysitting, and an assortment of effective orders to give them. You mostly control the pace of the game through your offensive actions, so you also control how violent the AI becomes in response. It’s designed to get your mental gears moving, but luckily it doesn’t devolve into a click fest.

But it does kind of turn into a “what was that control again,” and “what the hell do I do now” fest. Instead of printing out the manual and hotkey guide (both of which are out of date), or playing the 4-hour tutorial again, or interrupting the game to check the controls, I made a short, economic reference for AI War. It’s 8 tiny pages and fits in a pocket. Continue reading

State of the (AI) War: Incoming!

It’s taken me a while to get to where I can actually play a game of AI War: Fleet Command to completion, so I’ve decided to blog the occasion, or at least the start of it.

Here’s a peek at my current game, to perhaps be explicated to a greater degree:

Current war state: we’ve taken one planet, and we’re eyeballing our next victim. Also expanding spy network currently at around 20 of 80 worlds.

Continue reading