In Starmancer, a sandbox space station management simulator game, you take the role of one such A.I. and your job will be to make sure that both the station and humans living on it survive all adversity and continue with the mission. Or... you can go rogue and torture your humans.
Developed by Ominux Games, the game presents an interesting twist on a standard city-building formula, and developers promise a ton of features that are either already there or soon to be added.
In order to develop those features and see what works great and what still needs to be fine-tuned, Starmancer will first enter a year-long early access stage, starting this August.
Let's check out everything the game has to offer currently.
Starmancer - story and setting
The game is set in a far, far future, after a world-ending catastrophe on Earth.
The Starmancer Initiative is a project with a goal to save humanity by sending tens of thousands of ships on a search for humanity's new home across the universe. These ships are full of human refugees - their consciousnesses are uploaded into memory banks.
On this voyage, your ship has been stranded in a strange solar system, and you as a Starmancer need to build a space station, sustain life, and defend against invaders from outer space.
Gameplay and features
At its core, Starmancer is a city-building simulator set in a space station.
Players will be tasked to build and expand their space station, and most importantly, sustain life.
Here are the three core features of the game, as explained by developers:
- Sustain Life - Colonists have needs, like hunger and thirst. Build farms and grow crops for food. Place heaters to prevent hypothermia. Construct med bays and assign doctors to treat wounds, cure diseases, and replace limbs.
- Customize your ship - Customize your station with unique walling, floors, furniture, and tons of weird and wonderful decorations and objects. Repaint objects to achieve your space station interior design dreams! Place cheerful paintings to remind the colonists how friendly and relatable you are, and motivational posters to let them know how much you value their productivity. Design fancy kitchens, luxurious bedrooms, casinos, and industrial docking bays.
- Power, Water, and Atmosphere - Provide power by connecting machines with wires. Prepare against blackouts by creating separate or redundant grids for your vital machines. Use pipes and water recyclers to convert dirty farm water into clean, drinkable water. Establish separate atmospheres with the help of vents and air ducts.
Colonists are the most important aspect of the game, you can "grow" them in incubators, and they will get personalities and minds from refugees stored in memory banks.
You will be assigning them various jobs and watch them develop both professionally and on a personal level, with other colonists.
You can either take the utmost care of colonists and make sure that they are living a happy and fulfilled life, or you can become a rogue A.I. and start testing their sanity in "creative" ways.
Whatever path you choose, there will be consequences, and currently, there are three main threats to your station: invasion, insanity, and mutiny.
All kinds of creatures from outer space will invade your colony from time to time, and you need to be prepared to defend the station. If there's a lot of bad things going on, or you simply are not treating your colonists well, some of them might become crazy and do awful things like sabotage equipment or homicidal rampages, but they can also become crazy geniuses and invent something that will help you.
Finally, there's mutiny, and that will happen if you fail to provide conditions that make colonists happy.
Early access & release date
Starmancer is set to enter early access on 5th August, and developers state that the game will stay in that state for about a year.
There's already a lot of features available in the game, but they plan to add a lot more, and they want to test everything and hear player feedback before they release a final version of the game.
"Starmancer currently has many features implemented and is completely playable. Every playthrough is already slightly different, but not different enough to the point where we would label it feature complete," devs explain.
While the price is not yet available, Ominux Games states that "it’s possible the final price for 1.0 may be slightly higher than the Early Access price."