Secondary chief Petty officer’s assistant’s log, Day 1: Well, they got us. The bastards got us. We only just managed to get to the escape pod and get out, me and 3 others. All that’s left is me, two ensigns, a sculler hand and an inordinate amount of resources. Our only available course is to build a massive spacecraft, survive and build a kick-ass ship.
All stupidity and faux logs aside, Starship theory is a top down management/building game where you build up your little escape pod into a space-worthy craft and survive in the infinite blankness of space.
Right now Starship Theory is in an extremely early state (alpha 1.1f) and as such there’s gonna be lots of stuff hopefully added in future updates. Regardless, what’s currently in the game is superb, which is mainly ship building. The whole game is in a top down view, ala Prison Architect, Rimworld and their ilk, which makes it very easy to understand what all your crew is doing, though it does limit the complexity of what you can do.
Starship Theory runs on a grid based system, with a range of bits and bobs to glue onto your ship. Ships are constructed with hull parts, then floor parts, which is one of my biggest issues with the game, where I have 3 deaths due to accidently removing a hull to return it back to a floor, instead of installing a new floor there. Items can be placed on hull or floor segments depending on what they are, which is confusing for all of 5 seconds but actually gives a fair amount of strategy, trying to have both a large amount of internal space for bed, computers and water coolers, but still have a large amount of outside hull to chuck your engines, solar panels and lasers on.
Having a ship is all well and good, but AI is expensive, and can never be trusted to open the pod bay doors, so you need a crew to run your ship. And sadly, right now the crew is where Starship Theory falls down, it’s stupid. Fires are a very common occurance on your ship, being caused by flying too close to a star or not adequately cooling your components. Fires break out around your ship, and if left unattended can destroy components, and even burn holes in your ship. The main way to get rid of fires is to tell a crew member to go put it out, or if you have a ship built right you can vent the segment. Now, crew members have needs, mainly food and water, and they will complain if not saited.
During one particularly close sun dive, the nose of my ship that held my airlock caught fire. Luckily one of my engineers was just exiting the airlock and was ready to go fight fire and save the ship! Except they were thirsty and couldn’t wait for their glass of water. So, instead of putting out the fire then going and getting the water, they just stood there, trying to get to the water but stopped by the fire. And could I send someone else to put the fire out? Nope, this guy, who isn’t putting out the fire, has reserved it and won’t let anyone else near. These is a small thing, but overall these little bugs and frustrations damage Starship Theory, an otherwise great game.
Now, you start off with a fair amount of resources, but your tiny little escape pod only has so much storage. To collect more, you can either go asteroid hunting with your laser beams, or find traders to trade with. There is no movement per se in the game, you travel in a straight line, passing through asteroid fields, past stars and empty space, though you can build a navigation console to get an asteroid field up next or get another spaceship to come say hi to you. Travelling through asteroid fields is your easiest way to gain resources, cracking open asteroids and nabbing the minerals inside.
Starship Theory, right now, is a pretty darn good ship builder, with a mediocre everything else. I would hesitantly recommend this game now, but only because it itches my management itch supremely well. Starship Theory looks like it’ll be a great game, and I hope that the developers keep working to make it just that.